ENG 330 – Preparing for the midterm.

Use the following terms functionally and accurately and in general historical context:

Pale of Settlement.- Territories belonging to the Russian Empire in eastern Europe where Jewish people were allowed to settle. Back in the day, the Pale of Settlements was surrounded by Austria, Romania, the Kingdom of Poland and Prussia from the west, and the Russian Empire from the East. In modern times, those territories would constitute whtat is called now a days: Moldova, Urkaine, Belarus, Lithuania

Pale of Settlements

Pogrom.- Pogrom is a russian word that conveys an attacks, desacration, violence, murder, rape and destruction which was carried out by peasants against Jews before around Easter. The peasant population would be incited by some rumor spread out by the government and would last between one and three days. The level of destruction and violence against the population depended directly on police involvement to control de situation. Sometimes the early intervention of police or officials would just mean the destruction of material goods, and other times standing aside people would be raped and murdered.

Ashkenazic.- This word refers to jewish people originally living in Germany and France, whose language is Yiddish.

Sephardic.- This word refers to jewish people originally living in Spain and Portugal, whose language is Ladino.
Talmud.-  A collection Jewish tradition interpreting the Torah, where different scholars added comments creating a volume of Jewish law.

Haskalah.- This word refers to the Jewish enlightment. Movement that sprouted in the 18th and 19th century that advocated the adhesion to the enlightment movement and called for Jews to integrate into secular society.

Explain how representations of the shtetl in film and literature are artistic and ideological constructions, using examples from the course.

In Jewish literature and in film, the image of the shtetl was shaped according to each writer’s need. The shtetl, which embodied traditional Jewish life, was presented differently by each writer.  Some of the writers created an image of the shtetl that would embody decay in all its sense, just to convey their views. for example, the shtetl in The Dead Town… decrepit. A place were their inhabitants go through the motions without thinking. The inhabitants are as good as dead.

Explain how the shtetl is used as a metonymy for modern Jewish dilemmas and crises.

The Shtetl is used in Jewish literature to reflect the issues of this community. Each writer will depict the Shtetl that will fit its own purposes.

For example

Discuss the definition of “enlightenment” found in Gordon’s poem “Awake My People!” and how it appears to be undermined in “For Whom Do I Toil?”

Explain what makes Peretz’s Tzachnovka a “dead town.”  The Jews in this story seem to be living their lives without questioning the meaning, like going through the motions. Hence the metaphor that people are dead.

Explain the position of the Yiddish language within East European Jewish culture and why a Yiddish writer like Mendele was reluctant to write in the language.  Contrast Yiddish with Hebrew in this regard. Although the development of Yiddish was on par with German

Discuss how Bialik’s poem “In the City of Slaughter” conveys the horror of the pogrom and refuses conventional emotionalism.

Explain why Bialik’s poems “Orphanhood” and “Alone” reflect a more ambivalent attitude toward Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) and traditon than the critical stance we see in Mendele’s “The Calf.”

List the ways in which Motl the Cantor’s Son dramatizes the dissolution of the East European shtetl world.  Discuss the figure of Motl as a narrator, and explain why his perspective on this dissolution gives the novel its unique character.

Discuss Babel’s literary strategies for the portrayal of the pogrom in “The Story of My Dovecote.”  Explain the connection between the school examination and the rest of the story.  Distinguish between Babel’s story and the literature of the shtetl.  

Babel used the figure of a young child to show from his perspective how the pogrom affected him. He was exposed to violence, but the portrayal of this violence surrounded him is delivered to the reader through a filter that only lets us experience


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s