What is For the Relief of Unbearable Urges about?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Nathan Englander's collection of stories in For the Relief of Unbearable Urges details issues which those of the Jewish faith must face given their choice of religious practice.

The stories depict both individuals and families who struggle against society (based upon their persecution). The stories are meant to depict the persecution of the Jewish over time.

The first two stories, "The Tumblers" and "The Twenty-seventh Man," take place during World War II. These stories depict the horror of the Jewish people, their oppression, and their mindless slaughter.

The last story, "In This Way We Are Wise," depicts the experiences of Natan and his girlfriend during terrorist attacks. The movement from World War II to a more modern scene allows readers to see that the persecution of the Jewish people did not end with the end of the war.

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