Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

This story succeeds through a lyrically rhythmic, lucid style that reflects the uncluttered, trusting perception of the naïve boy with just a touch of the older, wiser understanding of the man who looks back nostalgically at his childhood:When my father, of blessed memory, went to the fair at Lashkowitz for the first time, my mother was once standing at the window when she suddenly cried out, “Oh, they’re strangling him!” Folk asked her, “What are you saying?” She answered, “I see a robber taking him by the throat,” and before she had finished her words she had fainted. They sent to the fair and found my father injured, for at the very time that my mother had fainted, somebody had attacked my father for his money and had taken him by the throat; and he had been saved by a miracle. In later years, when I found in the Book of Lamentations the words “She is become as a widow,” and I read Rashi’s explanation, “As a woman whose husband has gone to a distant land and who intends to return to her,” it brought to mind my mother, peace be with her, as she used to sit at the window with her tears on her cheeks.

This episode, with its suggestion of clairvoyant sensitivity in the mother, is one of several that suggest the invisible bond of family love that transcends time and space. At one point, the narrator’s little sister puts her ear to the dinner table and listens intently, then announces with joy, “Father is coming! Father is...

(The entire section is 501 words.)