The Scandal of jewish rage in william styron's sophie's choice

Michael Lackey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Scholars have suggested that William Styron's Nathan in Sophie's Choice is insane or depraved -A character whose motivations lack rationality at best and are unambiguously evil at worst. Elie Wiesel, the author of the famous Holocaust memoir Night, has been very critical of Styron's novel. Ironically, by using the Yiddish version of Wiesel's memoir Night, it is possible to demonstrate that Nathan's behavior is more "logical" than scholars have previously understood. This approach offers us a new way of reading and interpreting Styron's novel by clarifying how Nathan's character functions within a well-established tradition of sociopolitical outrage about racial oppression, which is best exemplified in James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, a text that Styron strategically references in Sophie's Choice.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)85-103
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Modern Literature
    Volume39
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

    Keywords

    • Anti-semitism
    • Racial oppression
    • Rage
    • Sophie's choice
    • William styron

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