How do Singer’s works reflect the tradition of storytelling that is so prevalent in small, rural communities? Does Singer see the loss of a sense of community as a major obstacle to his...

How do Singer’s works reflect the tradition of storytelling that is so prevalent in small, rural communities?

Does Singer see the loss of a sense of community as a major obstacle to his characters’ happiness?

Why did the Holocaust cause many Jews to lose their faith?

Even those of Singer’s characters who say they no longer believe in God often feel guilty. Why?

What does Singer see as the major problems in male-female relationships? What are the problems in marriage?

How is the theme of alienation reflected in Singer’s works?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Isaac Bashevis Singer's works reflect traditional storytelling traditions because they reflect his upbringing, which was surrounded by stories that were told in his native language of Yiddish and that reached back in time through the conduit of traditional folktales. These were augmented by contemporary detective tales chronicling the adventures of Yiddish detectives. The tread of traditional storytelling was strengthened because Singer wrote in Yiddish, and his works were published in Yiddish language periodicals. His first novel Satan in Goray was serialized through installments published in the Polish Yiddish language literary magazine Globus.

Other children had toys, but I played with my father's books. I started to "write" even before I knew the alphabet. I would dip a pen in ink and scribble. ... The Sabbath was an ordeal for me, because it is forbidden to write on that day. (Singer, A Day of Pleasure)

The theme of alienation is a detectable in Singer's works because of the way he constructs his characters lives based on their personalities and psychological traits in combination with their moral commitments to Jewish precepts and traditions. Consequently, his characters feel a dichotomy between how they do live and how they should live. This dichotomy fuels a sense of alienation from their inner essences, from their communities, from their religions and culture and from their loved ones. 

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