The theme of escape in the novels of Aharon Appelfeld / Jeremy B. Edlow.
Appelfeld's novels may be classified according to their relationship to either escaping one's Jewishness or escaping one's memories of the Holocaust. Escaping one's Jewishness is a central theme in Appelfeld's pre-Holocaust novels which include Ke-Ishon Ha-Ayin, (The Apple Of My Eye) Badenheim Ir Nofesh, (Badenheim 1939) Ha-Pisqah, (The Retreat) Tzili, Be-Et U-ve-Onah Ahat, (At One And The Same Time) Rizpat Esh, (Tongue Of Fire) and El Erez Ha-Gome. (To The Land Of The Cattails). Escaping one's memories of the Holocaust is a central theme in Appelfeld's post-Holocaust novels such as Ha-Or Ve-ha-Kutonet, (The Skin And The Gown) Mikhvat Ha-Or, (The Searing Light) Bartfuss Ben Almavet, (The Immortal Bartfuss) and For Every Sin. The one novel which fits into both classifications is Tor Ha-Pelaot. This novel is composed of two halves. The first half of the novel takes place before the war and focuses upon escaping one's Jewishness. The second half of the novel focuses upon escaping one's memories of the Holocaust and transpires after the Second World War. This study traces Appelfeld's stylistic and thematic use of escape in his creative writing and touches upon Appelfeld's indirect approach to the Holocaust and how it differs from other writers. In Appelfeld's latter novels on the pre-Holocaust period, the drive to assimilate grows more and more intense, becoming a pathological obsession for the characters. Summarily, this dissertation shows how when taken altogether Appelfeld's novels offer a panoramic view of the futile Jewish struggle for survival in the pre-Holocaust period through assimilation, and the double edged role of memory in the lives of the survivors.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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