The Magical World of Isaac Babel's Short Stories Analytical Essay

The Magical World of Isaac Babel's Short Stories
An analysis of the childhood experiences of Isaac Babel that influenced his writing.
# 153971 | 2,889 words | 9 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Aug 06, 2014 in Literature (Russian)


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From the Paper:

"In the early 1920s, there appeared a new and original voice in Russian short story writing. This strong, powerful, influential voice was that of Isaac Babel. At the peak of his career, Babel was one of the most widely read writers in the land, and he is still regarded as one of the great Russian writers of all time. He was born and spent much of the formative years of his life in the vicinity of Odessa, a little town on the coast of the Black Sea. In fact,many of the stories upon which his fame rests are based on the experiences of his childhood and youth in Odessa. These stories have a magical quality, which undoubtedlysprings from their particularly childlike perspective,coupled with a sense that the characters and events are, in the words of Babel's daughter Natalie, "outside history" (Gifford 226).They employ the "narrative method of the child's eye" (Hetenyi 175):they area "blend of shocking fact and high fantasy" (Gifford 212), which is typically the product of a child's imagination.This essay will attempt to answer the question: "What was it about Babel's childhoodthat made it possible for him to achieve the rare quality that he did in so many of his short stories?"
"In order to answer this question, it is essential to take an in-depth look at the circumstancesof Isaac Babel's early life,since they undoubtedly had a profound effect on his writing. The origins and history of theBabel family are somewhat uncertain. However, it is known that Babel's mother and father both came from Jewish families thathad been living in the Ukraine for several generations. Babel was born on July 13, 1894 in the Jewish ghetto of Odessa. Shortly after his birth, the Babels moved to Nikolayev, a small port not far from Odessa. The Babel family spent most of the next ten years living in Nikolayev in a relatively comfortable home (Friedin 1900). Babel was first introduced to the world of literature through his mother, who taught him to read. It was also here in NikolayevthatBabel first attended school and began the study of literature. As a young boy, Babel became interested inseveral languages,mastering Russian, Hebrew, German, French, and English (Freidin 1900)."

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