Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 54

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don. In this realistic work, as in Orpaz’s surrealistic fiction, men
and women are stripped down to elemental beings.
Altogether, few Israeli writers of the sixties have portrayed
women in their fullness and complexity. This is explained in part
by the allegorical quality of much of Israeli writing in this period.
Both men and women become ideological functions, with women
often symbolizing the basic female character. They are the com­
panions who bear the passive imprint of the male views and actions.
They are the measure ofman’s power or impotence, his ideological
rightness or weakness. As we have seen, fuller more complex por­
trayals are achieved only through the depiction of idiosyncratic fig­
ures, obsessed women living in their own fantasy worlds. In Yaakov
Shabtai’s fine work,
Past Continuous
, there are hints that Israeli lit­
erature is moving toward greater complexity in the portrayal of
women. Perhaps, the present movement to verisimiltude of con­
crete reality in Israeli fiction will generate fuller, more composite
characterization of women.
Images o f Women