Belonging Too Well: Portraits of Identity in Cynthia Ozick's by Miriam Sivan

By Miriam Sivan

Exhibits how Ozick's characters try to mediate a posh Jewish id, person who bridges the diversities among conventional Judaism and secular American tradition.

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Belonging Too Well: Portraits of Identity in Cynthia Ozick's Fiction (S U N Y Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)

Exhibits how Ozick's characters try and mediate a fancy Jewish id, person who bridges the diversities among conventional Judaism and secular American tradition.

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Extra info for Belonging Too Well: Portraits of Identity in Cynthia Ozick's Fiction (S U N Y Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)

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It draws its power from mimesis: a flawed but significant imitation of the ultimate creation of the world, the human-like being. Conversely, golem making has also been read as a form of idol worship, whereby a literal body, whether hand-made or co-opted in the form of an existing other, becomes the expression of a personal agenda and bid for power. Either way, constructing a golem makes the all too human creator acutely aware of her own limitations. Utilizing this (often misguided) power almost always results in destruction and mayhem, both to self and others.

The narrator is displeased by him. She is not a mechanic, or even a scientist, but, like him, an interpreter. But where he is able to see openings in which to insert himself into analyses of history and the politics of Latin America, he is not able to see beyond a static present of images that, in his mind, photography is an extension of. She seems to agree, at least on the surface when she explains to him that the photographer gets what is there, as if a photograph were a catalogue of facts. Whereas in truth she is consciously and actively shaping the story that she finds in her viewfinder.

Ayalti, Yiddish Proverbs W hen Ruth Puttermesser in “Puttermesser and Xanthippe”1 fashions a golem in the middle of the night, she is giving tangible form, one is even inclined to say giving birth, to a number of her longings. Though she is the only Cynthia Ozick character to fashion a literal golem, like many of Ozick’s protagonists, Puttermesser’s golem is a foil for her narcissistic and redemptive needs and impulses. Golem making has been interpreted as a celebration of the divine. It draws its power from mimesis: a flawed but significant imitation of the ultimate creation of the world, the human-like being.

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