The function of the Isaiah story in Henry Roth ́s “Call It Sleep”

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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject American Studies – Literature, grade: 2,0 (B), (Institute for Anglistics/American Studies), course: Hauptseminar The Early Tradition of Jewish American Fiction Writing, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: This paper in concerned with the novel Call it Sleep, a work by the Jewish-American writer Henry Roth. First of all, some general facts about the author will be presented to provide an appropriate context for the further discussion. Afterwards, the structure of the novel will be explained by giving an overview over the main symbols and their function within the book. The emphasis will then be put on the characterization of David Schearl, the central character of the novel. His search for purification and salvation will be scrutinized with regard to the “Isaiah Story”, a passage of the Old Testament, which is strongly linked to the topic of redemption. At the end of the paper the question whether David can be called a her-messiah because of his strong sensibility concerning religious themes and experiences will be discussed.

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