What are the major themes in Defender of the Faith?

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kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some of the themes are considered relatively offensive to a possible Jewish audience since Sergeant Marx is a character with acclaim and was a war hero and he is abused in many ways by Private Grossbart, the Jewish character in the story.  Basically Grossbart does anything he can to get favors from Marx, taking advantage of any acquaintance he can and pushing on any weakness he can exploit to get what he wants.

Marx, as a good guy, is trying hard to do what he thinks is right, but is eventually forced to simply throw up his hands and give in to the avalanche of requests and bullying from Private Grossbart.  It is particularly painful since Marx himself is Jewish but not practicing so he is willing to accomodate Grossbart but he takes total advantage of him.