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Defender of the Faith as the Nature of Jewishness

Defender of the Faith, by Philip Roth, is a short story that demonstrates the nature of Jewishness that is pictures through the heroes of Sheldon Grossbart and Sergeant Marx. Throughout the story, there is a repeated theme moving around the dilemma Sergeant Marx must face making a decision to act as either a great sergeant, Jewish man, or a human being. Marx’s internal fights make him to constantly question his beliefs, thus leading him to an onerous battle he must surmount in order to retain his faith.

This is a complex and powerfully imagined story describing a conflict of loyalties and outlining the difficulty of being a decent person in a world beset with opposing priorities.

Jewishness has no religious or ritualistic substance for Grossbart. He is a cleverly insidious barracks lawyer who acts as a defender of the Jewish religion to manipulate Marx and other authority figures into providing him with undeserved privileges. He articulates prayers of whining, flattery, hypocrisy in order to get special treatment.

Marx’s character is deeply flaky. He wants to be a good person, a good soldier, and a good Jew, exactly in that order. As a person, he is at first vulnerable to Grossbart’s performance as the victim because he is afraid to ruin his rights by the dehumanizing the institution of the army. However, as a soldier, he wants to refer to his trainees humanely and equitably, balancing conformity to military rules with sympathy for the solitude and muddle of young men pulled up from their families during wartime. As a Jew Marx has a particularly difficult dilemma – how to follow his tradition when also fulfilling his military duties; how to avoid the sentimental statements of Jewish solidarity when they contradict the ethical mandate for equity and justice; how not to bully; how to show compassion without being weak.

Philip Roth ends the story with a twist: Grossbart accepts his religion to be treated no differently from his comrades, and Marx accepts his own religion. Thus, Roth emphasizes the existential nature of the protagonist’s moral anguish: Marx thinks that the training camp is a far trickier moral area than the battlefield. He discovers that the best way to defend the Jewishness is to defend the faith of all recruits in a community, to watch out not for one person but for all of the soldiers.

Defender of the Faith, by Philip Roth, is a short story that demonstrates the nature of Jewishness that is pictures through the heroes of Sheldon Grossbart and Sergeant Marx. Throughout the story, there is a repeated theme moving around the dilemma Sergeant Marx must face making a decision to act as either a great sergeant, Jewish man, or a human being.

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Assignment ID
100000242
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CREATED ON
June 25, 2016
COMPLETED ON
June 26, 2016
Price
$7
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Rahael
July 24, 2016
Rahael
I don't know how to thank stanmobitech for their support. I was nearly late to hand but they have helped me out on this difficult Information System Project. Thanks.
Rahael
July 24, 2016
Rahael
Quality work completed before a already short deadline! Kept me updated throughout the project.
Annah
July 17, 2016
Annah
This is exactly the way I wanted it. Thank you for making it in time. Are you available for some more questions?