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American Pastoral Questions and Answers
In the last scene in American Pastoral, did Merry really show up at the house and inform her grandfather that she killed four people?
What are both Swede and Merry described as being when they are returning from a seaside cottage in chapter 3 in American Pastoral?
Is American Pastoral entirely in the imagination of narrator Zuckerman? At the end of chapter 3 Nathan Zuckerman imagines himself into the Swede's life. He first creates a scene in Deal, New Jersey, at a seaside cottage when Merry is eleven. Does this mean that the rest of the story is just what Zuckerman is imagining to happen?
What is the role of religion in American Pastoral?
How does American Pastoral explore "the consequences of forsaking one’s Jewish origins?"
Where is Zuckerman's transition from narrator to storyteller in American Pastoral?
Flora "Philip Roth has beaten pain and rage into a beautiful shape." The novel is a scathing critique of the commodifying process in the context of a thriving society that stirs up intense excitement but also intense hatred.Personal and political feuds bring about unwarranted violence shown through arresting images of defiance and despair that characterize both the prosperous but miserable glove manufacturer and his daughter Merry, a "hippie-turned-mad bomb-thrower. The project of Nathan Zuckerman is taking shape as he is searching for explanations and shaping them into a consistent and resonant whole, and analyzing the whole into its various constituents. Indignation, outrage are conveyed by the outrageousness of Levov's tone of voice. Thus, the novelist fires, excites the reader's imagination, who takes a passionate interest in following the meandering paths of Levov's train of thought. 1. Searching for explanations and shaping them into a story 2. Violence, outrage and outrageousness. 3. Firing the reader's imagination and arousing a passionate interest.
How does the past (childhood & nostalgia) affect Nathan Zuckerman in American Pastoral?
Outrage (violence, indignation) and outrageousness in American Pastoral. To be continued.... I think that underneath the surface of Levov's personality, there's a great deal of violence. I can give two examples that testify to this: first, the kiss and the temptation of "knowing" Merry, and at the end of the nove, p. 373, the scene in which he almost strikes Sheila, the speech therapist and his former mistress, "with a picture of a bull taken off the wall" and bludgeon her over the head with" He also calls her "a bitch". A feww pages further in the novel, he says:"I'll kill her [Rita] if she's anywhere near my daughter."The narrator formulates this hypothesis: "I was wrong." in the first chapter of the novel in the first part entitles Paradise remembered, long before the Fall and Paradise Lost. Furthermore it is when the narrator seemed to approve of Jerry's standpoint that he shows how different he feels: "You're craving depths that don't exist. The guy is the embodiment of nothing. I was wrong. Never more mistaken in my life." I suppose Levov, just like Merry is one of the key characters that have a crucial role in "the American beserk." It's Jerry's viewpoint that may be biased: "It's Jerry's theory that the Swede is nice that is to say passive... According to this theory, it's the no-rage that kills him in the end." p. 72. The tone in which the letter is written is also emotional and somewhat outré: "Not everyone knew how much he suffered because of the shocks that befell his loved ones."p. 17.
From American Pastoral, comment on how "Nathan's version of Swede's life is in part based on information he learns from others, but he also imagines a good many details, even makes up characters and events."