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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Defender of the Faith by Philip Roth

Philip Roth does a wonderful job at bringing one's faith to the realm of the short story. Not only is the basis of this story faith it is about a Jewish solider in the army trying to live his religion. Sheldon Grossbart is a trainee only wanting to practice his religious beliefs and tries to get some sympathy from his new Sergeant. But the Army is not the most forgiving place, and Grossbart has numerous obstacles to overcome. This short story helps not only Grossbart find how he can be Jewish in the Army, but also helps his Sergeant find out his true devotion to his religion as well. This is definitely a great story for those who want to see how one stands for courage to live their religion when everyone is against them.


shersy said...

I liked the point of view it was told from - made me see how manipulative Grossbart was - he wasn't really wanting to live his religion, just be excused from things he didn't want to do. I really liked the end! Also - I liked how the Sargeant had a reawakening of faith! I renewed my library copy - but only have it until June 6th - keep the stories comming!

Melissa said...

I've read this story several times and, no offense, I think you've missed the point. It's not about Grossbart trying to live his religon, it's about him using his religion in manipulitive ways. Roth is making an ethical stance and showing that using religion as a manipulative tool is wrong.

Aaron said...

I enjoy a little literary analysis conversation. Thank you both on your comments. When I originally read this I too thought that it was about using religion in a manipulative way, but I think it will take a few more read throughs to come to your point of view. Either way, kudos to you Melissa for your comment...a different way of reading it.

shersy said...

I had a couple of additional thoughts...In thinking of what the war was about and who it was defending, Grossbart should have been anxious to go and fight. I thought the Sargeant was really teaching or helping Grossbart to come to a point where he "felt" his religion - rather than just using it.

Isn't it great that several people can read a story and see so many different things in it? I think that's a mark of good writing.