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The paper looks at the poor men, simpletons, innocents, and charming well-meaning tricksters that are common heroes in Yiddish tales. The paper discusses Tevye the Milkman, one of Sholem Aleichem's many characters, Gimpel from Isaac Bashevis Singer's story "Gimpel the Fool" and Bontshe the Silent from I. L. Peretz's work. The paper also discusses how Benjamin the Third, the protagonist from Mendele Mocher Seforim's novel "The Travels and Adventures of Benjamin the Third", is with more modern sensibilities and character traits, while Vasil from Lamed Shapiro's "White Challah" is drastically different from all the other characters listed here. The paper points out that these heroes are arguably unique, when compared to the heroes of other genres, in their ability to resist adversity or even succeed in spite of it without actually demolishing or conquering the forces against them.
From the Paper:"evye the Milkman, one of Sholem Aleichem's many characters, is one of the best-known examples of this type of Yiddish hero. Long before Fiddler on the Roof, he was the subject of several of Aleichem's short stories, and almost every one shows him going through several reversals of good and bad fortune. Yet whether Tevye's luck is up or down, he seems basically unflappable. He complains at times, but he never despairs. Sholem Aleichem's choice to portray him this way seems to be that is an explanation for and reflection of the Jewish way of life, which is of course heavily influenced by the Jewish faith. Aleichem makes this explicit when he has Tevye say, in the tone typical of this character's address to his author, "as long as a Jew lives and breathes in this world and hasn't more than one leg in the grave, he musn't lose faith" (Aleichem 3). This is the reason behind Tevye's slightly foolish-seeming construction."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Aleichem, Sholem. Tevye the Dariyman. New York: Schocken Books,1987.
- Peretz, I. L. "Bontshe the Silent." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/culture/2/Literature/Yiddish_and_Ladino/European_Writing/IL_Peretz.shtml
- Seforim, Mendele Mocher. The Travels and Adventures of Benjamin the Third. New York: Schocken Book, 1949.
- Shapiro, Lamed. "White Challah." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://killingthebuddha.com/mag/hunger/white-challah/
- Singer, Isaac Bashevis. "Gimpel the Fool." Accessed 5 May 2009. http://www.gimpel.tv/gimpel.txt
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Yiddish Heroes (2011, October 27) Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/yiddish-heroes-148584/
"Yiddish Heroes" 27 October 2011. Web. 20 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/yiddish-heroes-148584/>