دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی
واحد تهران مرکزی
دانشکده زبانهـای خارجی، گروه زبان انگلیسی
پایان نامه برای دریافت درجه کارشناسی ارشد (M.A.)
گرایش: زبان و ادبیات انگلیسی
بررسی یهودی ستیزی سیاهپوستان و سیاه ستیزی یهودیان
در رمان اجاره نشینان اثر برنارد ملمود
جناب آقای دکتر کیان سهیل
جناب آقای دکتر فرید پروانه
سال تحصیلی 92 – 93
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این تحقیق تلاشی برای تحلیل رمان اجاره نشینان1 (1971) در راستای نژادپرستی2 و تبعیض نژادی3 در آمریکا بین جمعیت مسیحی سیاه پوست و یهودی سفیدپوست میباشد و به تاثیر مواردی از جمله مذهب و ناسیونالیزم در روابط این دو گروه میپردازد. این رمان داستان دو نویسنده یهودی و سیاه پوست است که در یک آپارتمان اجاره ای با تفکرات ضد سیاه پوستی و یهودی ستیزی4 خود زندگی کرده و این افکار بر روابط بین گروهی، درون گروهی و همچنین روابط آنها با زنان تاثیر میگذارند. ایده های مختلف از منتقدین برجسته در زمینه نژادپرستی و همچنین بیگانه ترسی5 اخذ شده و از آن میان مرکز توجه بیشتر روی تاریخ روابط، مذهب، ناسیونالیزم و سیاست “حل شدن در جامعه“6 یهودیان، تصورات یهودیان از سیاهان و سیاهان از یهودیان همچنین باورهای سیاهان از سیاهان و یهودیان از یهودیان و در پایان اتحاد گذرای بین سیاه پوستان و یهودیان است که توسط منتقد و فعال حقوق مدنی آقای کرنل وست7 (1953) مطرح شده اند. تاثیر مستقیم موارد ذکرشده توسط آقای وست بر رفتار شخصیتهای رمان نشان میدهد که چگونه هر گروه قومی راهی متفاوت از دیگری برای ادغام در جامعه و فرار از گذشته سرکوب شده خود و همچنین فرار از “دیگری8 بودن” انتخاب کرده است. نحوه و سبک نوشتاری نویسنده که به صورت واگذاری نتیجه گیری به خواننده رمان میباشد، تصوری حاکی از امکان حل اختلافات بین دو گروه نژادی یادشده را عنوان مینماید.
واژه های کلیدی: نژادپرستی – تبعیض نژادی – یهودی ستیزی – بیگانه ترسی – دیگری
This research analyzes The Tenants (1971) within the context of ethnocentrism, specifically the segregation between two minority groups of Jews and Blacks in the USA, and the extent to which religion and nationalism, among other factors, have affected their interactions. The novel is a story of two writers, one Jewish, one Afro-American, living in a tenement and how Anti-Black and Anti-Semitic sentiments affect their relationship and their lives within their own community and their interactions with women. Different ideas on discrimination against minorities and xenophobia from racism critics are presented; among them there is a focus on History of the Confrontation, Religion, Nationalism including Jews Assimilation policy, Conceptions of Blacks from Jews and vice versa together with Conceptions of Blacks from Blacks and Jews from Jews and finally the transitory Alliance between the two cultures which are proposed by the civil right activist and critic, Cornel West (1953). There is proof of direct effect of these factors introduced by West on the characters and how these points lead them to choose a different way of overcoming their suppressed past and to avoid remaining the Other. The open-endedness factor of this masterpiece from the beginning to the end of the novel gives a sense of resolution between the two races to the reader.
Key Terms: Ethnocentrism, Segregation, Anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, Other
Table of Contents
1.1. General Background 8
1.2. Statement of the Problem 12
1.3. Objectives and Significance of the Study 14
1.3.1. Hypothesis 14
1.3.2. Purpose of the Study 17
1.3.3. Research Questions 17
1.4. Materials and Methodology 18
1.5. Definition of Key Terms 20
1.6. Motivation and Delimitation 23
1.7. Organization of the Study 25
Ethnocentrism and Jew-Black Discriminations 26
2.1. Black’s Anti-Semitism and Jew’s Anti-Black Racism 28
2.1.1. History of Jew-Black Confrontation 29
2.1.2. The Role of Religion in Jew-Black Antagonism 32
2.1.3. The Civil Rights Movement and Transitory Alliance 35
2.2. Jew-Black Social Life in America and the Conceptions 39
2.2.1. Jews-Blacks and White Christian Society 40
2.2.2. Jewish Nationalism 44
2.2.3. Black Nationalism 47
2.2.4. Blacks Conceptions of Jews and vice versa 51
2.2.5. Blacks Conceptions of Blacks 54
2.2.6. Jews Conceptions of Jews 56
The Tenants and Ethnocentrism 60
3.1. Jews Social Life 63
3.1.1. Lesser as a Jew 65
3.1.2. Lesser as a Writer 69
3.1.3. Lesser as a White 74
3.1.4. Lesser as a Boyfriend 76
3.2. Blacks Social Life 78
3.2.1. Willie as a Black 80
3.2.2. Willie as a Writer 84
3.2.3. Willie as a Boyfriend 89
The Tenants and Jew-Black Communication 91
4.1. Jew-Black Conflicts and The Tenants 91
4.2. Jew-Black Alliances and The Tenants 95
4.3. Happy Ending and Alliance 102
4.4. Sad Ending and Assassinations 106
5.1. Summing Up 113
5.2. Findings 115
5.3. Suggestions for Further Research 121
Works Cited 123
1.1. General Background
Bernard Malamud (April 26, 1914 – March 18, 1986), a great prolific American Jewish writer of 20th century, was born into a Russian-Jewish immigrant family. His major concern in most of his works is the problem of the Jews in world and the prevalent racial issues of his era. Professionally speaking, being a Pulitzer Prize for his novel against discriminations on Jews, The Fixer (1966) is one of his life time achievements.
His novels include the tragic-comic element and pessimism that Malamud uses with his unique style of writing, displaying the challenges of modern urban life with focus on marginalized characters who struggle to survive through love and forgiveness rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs (Pinsker, 205-211). The Tenants (1971) is one of his famous novels which revolves around the Black-Jewish relationship in 20th century USA.
Specifically speaking, The Tenants is the story of two writers, one Jewish and the other Black, about their conflicts and communication in a tenement located in New York with no appropriate conditions for living. The novel opens with Harry Lesser (Jewish writer) having spent nine and half years finishing his book and refusing to leave the tenement belonging to Mr. Levenspiel until his last chapter of the novel is completed.
Lesser is not the only character from a minority group settling that tenement. While he is following his routine life of writing his novel, second character from Black minority appears and from that point on their interaction triggers a latent fear and hatred which come to its zenith in a tragic scene in one of the endings of the novel. In this pathetic scene both writers become victims of each other’s hatred ending up, in one of the endings of the book, killed by one another and Lesser’s ten year manuscript burned by Willie (The black character). And in the other ending, which is a happy one and where multiracial marriages take place, a more detailed consideration is required.
Though created by Malamud’s creative and imaginative mind, the dramatic frictions of two main characters throughout the story were the direct reflection of the social and political current salient and challenging in Malamud’s life time. The concepts that are worth consideration in The Tenants are Black Anti-Semitism and Jewish Anti-Black Racism in American Society with its multicultural setting and how the construction of American identity in the modern era for Jews and Blacks is affected by ethnocentrism, religion and the history behind the two cultures. To grasp the inner atmosphere of the story and what had occupied Malamud’s mind, a cursory glance at racism history seems helpful.
Racism and its related movements in USA are well known through the world. The Blacks, the Jews and other minority groups have struggled to make themselves free from the racists’ burdens and this created an atmosphere of alliance and support between minority groups and encouraged the leaders of each minority speak for the right of not only his race but also other minorities. Therefore, it is not strange to hear that Jewish leaders and Black revolutionary vanguards defended each other in the face of White-Christian mainstream. Despite this unity, after 1950s some changes and shifts began to burgeon. The Jews trend in surrendering part of their identity to achieve the mainstream approval was one of the starting points of their difference with the Blacks. They continued to develop socially and economically and even as writers they devoted part of White-American literary canon to themselves and their works found readers among White Christian people. They accepted to obey the grammatical rules defined by mainstream while black writers were completely reluctant to surrender even their writing style.
Quite contrary with the Jews were the Blacks who detested losing their identity in favor of getting the Whites’ admission. Their writers, as mentioned above, continued to follow their own language, style of writing and vocabulary which were different from those of the Whites. Following the story, reader would find the same tendency in Lesser, the Jewish writer, and Willie, the Black writer. Willie is abhorrent to accept the grammatical rules of the mainstream. That is why while reading and revising Willie’s manuscript, Lesser criticizes him for not following the regular writing rules and this shows Lesser’s acceptance of mainstream rules and his idea of Willie’s wrong deed not to obey it.
Not only in writing but also in most of their life affairs, the Blacks continued to ask for their rights. Not accepting the Whites’ norms they remained the others while the Jews came free of being the other. The chains of alliance were broken and these two minority groups stood in two opposite poles and hatred emerged in their daily life interaction. The Tenants is a meticulous observation of these two writers’ reaction to each other and their emotional and psychological response. Willie releases his anger and terror in his innovative writing wherein he kills and even eats the Jews including Lesser several times.
These concepts and Jews and Blacks Nationalism as marginalized figures in America and the relationship between them, have been the subject of interest of many critics; among them the African-American critic Cornel Ronald West’s (1953) ideas are worth consideration. West is a Black-American civil-right activist addressing such issues as multiculturalism, racism, socialism and focusing on African-American studies. He contributed to post-1950s civil right movement and led most of his activities around gender, race, and class in American society and showed his interest in these fields from early youth. West’s school of thought circles around the history of discrimination, the peace moments between two cultures and the roots of hatred in regard to many factors including religion. West calls America a “Racist Patriarchal” (Race Matters, 90) and as he believes in one of his bestselling books, Race Matters (1993) “As long as black people are viewed as a them the burden falls on blacks to do all the cultural and moral work necessary for healthy race relations. The implication is that only certain Americans can define what it means to be American—and the rest must simply fit in” (West, 3).
In West ideas, Black inferiority and self-degradation facing White settlers superiority, undermined their genuine feeling of true citizens, as a result a dormant feeling of fear, fake identity and hatred emerged to define their everyday life. A good example of what West is focusing on is seen in the relationship between two characters in The Tenants. As he indicates, “Recent debates on the state of black-Jewish relations have generated more heat than light. Instead of critical dialogue and respectful exchange, people have witnessed several bouts of vulgar name-calling and self-righteous finger-pointing” (West, Race Matters, 71). The reader faces the same matter at one ending of The Tenants as Willie calls Lesser “Blood suckin Jew Nigger hater” and Lesser calls Willie “Anti-Semitic Ape” (The Tenants, 90).
Reading The Tenants in the light of Cornel West’s ideas makes the researcher interested to appoint them to this novel. What makes this analysis more interesting is the two very different endings of the novel which proposes more questions and more considerations of the two characters’ relationship with one another and with other people in the society.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
America is a multicultural country and home of a variety of ethnic groups with different cultures and religions, so it seems that friction and collision between minorities is a common problem there and has been the subject matter of many surveys and novels. The Blacks and the Jews are two groups which have been experiencing this tough situation from 1950s on. It was before 1950s that there was short alliance between the two cultures at the time of The Civil Rights Movements in America toward the freedom for Africans and other marginal figures but the discrimination factor and ethnocentrism has continued to be felt and lived through the stereotypes believed by people up to the present time. What makes the matter even more complex is how the members of each marginal group as Jews and Blacks feel and treat each other, the conceptions they have of one another and the self-degradation beliefs in their relationships.
As the former Harvard lecturer on history and literature, Edmund Spevack (1963-2001), quotes from the African American civil right activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) in his essay on “Racism and Multiculturalism in Bernard Malamud’s The Tenants” (1997) “W.E.B. Du Bois warned in 1903 that the main problem of the twentieth century would be the color line; indeed, the burning issues of economic, social, and cultural inequality among racial groups in America were not solved, but became ever more complex and urgent” (Spevack, 33). Besides, he cites Henry Louis Gates (1950), the African American writer and literary critic in the same essay, “We might as well argue that the problem of the twenty-first century will be the problem of ethnic differences, as these conspire with complex differences in color, gender, and class” (Spevack, 50).
As pointed out before, in the twentieth century and also at the present time, the main problem of such multinational country as America is how to deal with the difficulties and tensions raised between the minorities like those of Black and Jewish people. The world of The Tenants is indicative of this modern social and political phenomenon that has cast a shadow over the life of two main characters, Lesser and Willie, through story. As West indicates in his book Race Matters,
Black anti-Semitism and Jewish anti-black racism are real, and both are as profoundly American as cherry pie. There was no golden age in which blacks and Jews were free of tension and friction. Yet there was a better age when the common histories of oppression and degradation of both groups served as a springboard for genuine empathy and principled alliances. Since the late sixties, black-Jewish relations have reached a nadir (Race Matters, 71).
Although very few and very short, there are moments in the novel when two characters seem friendly and sympathetic toward each other, for example when Willie gives his manuscripts to Lesser to read and revise, or inviting Lesser to the party, when Lesser hides Willie from the owner of the tenement, who is also a Jew, when Willie supports Lesser from the physical attack of his friends and many other instances from novel’s close reading that researcher thinks as likely to be seen in great accordance with Cornel West’s ideas about short alliance.
Apart from the conflicts mentioned previously, Malamud’s style in development of his writing and characters are to be analyzed which includes the clashes between two marginal cultures of Jews and Blacks, the history and roots behind them in the account of Cornel West ideas and how the roots affect the relationship between the two characters in novel The Tenants, the African-American relationship, (or the Black-Jewish relationship, the term used by West), their bigotry toward each other and their hard times living together and with other people in the society are going to be highlighted.
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