Philip roth writing american fiction essay

Roth's first work, Goodbye, Columbus , featured his irreverent humor of the life of middle-class Jewish Americans, and was met by controversy among reviewers, who were highly polarized in their judgments; [3] one reviewer criticized it as infused with a sense of self-loathing. In response, Roth, in his 1963 essay "Writing About Jews" (collected in Reading Myself and Others ), maintained that he wanted to explore the conflict between the call to Jewish solidarity and his desire to be free to question the values and morals of middle-class Jewish Americans uncertain of their identities in an era of cultural assimilation and upward social mobility:

“…the imposition of scarlet letters, which remake people and their reputations until both stand in for chamber pots. In The Human Stain he shows us that today’s scarlet letters are, depending on the position in the field, labels like “liberal,” “conservative,” “Uncle Tom,” “sexist,” and “racist.”…Those scarlet letters wield the most power on college campuses…Silk, seemingly out of nowhere, expresses the droll totalitarianism that frightens contemporary college academics into shape…The most important rule is to be ready to pull down and pile onto any who do not recognize the importance of going along with the program.”

Philip roth writing american fiction essay

philip roth writing american fiction essay

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