Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168
Singer’s story is a third-person narrative with almost no developed scenes and few extended passages of dialogue. It is charmingly told with utter simplicity, lending it the quality of a matter-of-fact folktale that has been accepted without question by several generations of listeners or readers. The reader never pauses to question the credibility of the tale, for its complex sexuality, even the mechanics of the sexual act between Yentl and Hadass, are never allowed to overwhelm the deceptively simple, seemingly primitive, straightforward style. As the author himself understands, androgyny can be convincing on the page, but perhaps only there. Once the characters are fleshed out, as they must be, for stage and screen, and scenes are added or expanded, an element of titillation intrudes. Singer never allows this element to intrude in the story and attempts to maintain control over this aspect of the play. It is this overt element that finally mars the film version in which he had no hand and of which he disapproves.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 370
Yentl, the daughter of a rabbi, so excels at studies of the holy texts that clearly she is more man than woman. When her father dies, Yentl cuts off her braids, dons her father’s clothes, and leaves her village, in flight from the fate of all young married women: domestic drudgery. Yentl takes a new name, Anshel, to complete the male disguise.
In Bechev she studies at the Yeshiva, a boy’s school. She grows close to Avigdor, another student, who confides the reason he is still single: The betrothed’s family rejected him. Anshel boards with Hadass, the lost love of Avigdor, and her family, where she learns that Avigdor was rejected because his brother committed suicide in a fit of melancholy.
Anshel loves Avigdor for his male like-mindedness. He is her ideal companion, and she is his. She increases the confusion in her life by reasoning that a marriage of Hadass to herself will exact vengeance for Avigdor’s rejection by Hadass’ family and bring Avigdor by association closer to Anshel. Anshel...
(The entire section contains 538 words.)
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