Summary

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on January 6, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 233

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story ‘‘Henne Fire’’ first appeared in the magazine Playboy and then in his 1968 collection entitled The Séance . Singer wrote this story, as he did his other works, in Yiddish, despite being fluent in English; the author and Dorothea Straus translated the story into English....

(The entire section contains 233 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Henne Fire study guide. You'll get access to all of the Henne Fire content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Part Summaries
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Critical Essays
  • Analysis
  • Teaching Guide
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story ‘‘Henne Fire’’ first appeared in the magazine Playboy and then in his 1968 collection entitled The Séance. Singer wrote this story, as he did his other works, in Yiddish, despite being fluent in English; the author and Dorothea Straus translated the story into English. Many critics and readers considered Singer a master of the short story form; among his numerous awards, he received the 1978 Nobel Prize in literature.

‘‘Henne Fire’’ takes place in a small Polish village sometime before World War I but after the middle of the nineteenth century. The story is filled with supernatural and magical elements, and is told by one of Henne’s neighbors in a familiar and intimate style. Henne Fire is a woman whose erratic and frightening behavior prompts the tale’s narrator to refer to her as ‘‘not a human being but a fire from Gehenna,’’ an ancient word for hell. In the story, Henne’s family flees her home, unable to tolerate the sting of her venomous words and physical abuse. Many of Henne’s neighbors are afraid of her, as well, having witnessed her violence and paranoia, and simply want her to move to another town. Other villagers, including the local rabbi, try to make Henne’s life bearable while striving to protect the townspeople from her wrath and her strange propensity to ignite nearly everything around her.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Henne Fire Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Next

Part Summaries