The Ghost Writer Questions and Answers
by Philip Roth

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What assumptions did these characters (Nathan Zuckerman, Victor Zuckerman, Judge Leopold Wapter, and I. E. Lonoff) make about being Jewish and about a Jew’s responsibility toward his faith?

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Nathan and Victor Zuckerman, Wapter, and Lonoff conceive of the substantiveness of one's Jewish identity as primarily tied up in personal action. Though Lonoff and Wapter do not discuss Judaism much with reference to themselves, the protagonist and narrator Nathan is constantly anxious that his family will not see him as a loyal Jew because he has reneged on past opportunities to assert his faith and familial connection. They often reject the ways he depicts them in his writing, believing that he has a distorted view of reality that makes him incompatible with Judaism. As a result, he comes to see his Jewish identity as something that has to be reclaimed through creative writing. His father, Victor, is ambivalent about the relationship between individual and family with respect to faith; instead, he values the emotional nurture that family members provide for each other.

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