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Jewbird Essay Format

In “Jewbird,” Bernard Malamud skillfully uses three elementsвЂ"theme, characters, and conflict to show the issues surrounding personal identity and assimilation among American Jews. The dominant themes in this short story are the human capacity to foster hatred towards those who are different in the form of anti-Semitism, and the conflict that exists between Jews who have assimilated into American culture and those who have not relinquished their Jewish identity. Humor and irony can be found throughout the story to define the characters and the conflict that exists between the protagonist Schwartz and the dominant antagonist Harry Cohen.

Anti-Semitism, assimilation, and personal identity comprise the story of a talking crow which lands in the home of Harry Cohen a beer-drinking, cursing, assimilated American Jew. Schwartz, as the bird asks to be called, symbolizes the old ways of Jews and their constant flight to find a safe haven away from anti-Semitism. “I’m running. I’m flying but I’m also running. From whom? Asked Edie with interest. Anti-Semeets. Anti-Semites? They all said. That’s from who” (321). The old ways the bird symbolizes are quickly demonstrated to the Cohen family when the bird begins dovening, or praying intensely, “He prayed without Book or tallith, but with passion. Edie bowed her head though not Cohen. And Maurie rocked back and forth with the prayer, looking up with one wide-open eye” (321). Cohen is immediately skeptical, sarcastic, and uncharitable toward the unwelcome visitor. When asked by his wife Edie what he has against the poor bird, Cohen responds, “Poor bird, my ass. He’s foxy bastard. He thinks he’s a Jew” (323). Cohen is clearly disturbed by Schwartz’s Jewishness. As an assimilated Jew, Cohen has distanced himself from everything Jewish and he is repulsed and angered by the reminders that Schwartz brings into his home. Malamud symbolizes the conflict between American Jews who have assimilated into American culture and those who have retained their Jewishness through the portrayal of Cohen and Schwartz.

Schwartz and Cohen represent opposing Jewish cultures, traditional versus modern American. The traditional Jewish culture, symbolized by Schwartz, has held onto its spiritualism and values such as religious observation, dress, compassion, and humanism. For this reason, behaving differently and looking differently than the mainstream culture, traditional Jews often struggle against anti-Semitism. On the other hand, assimilated American Jews, symbolized by Cohen, have relinquished traditional values for the mainstream culture often leaving all reminders behind, even celebrating mainstream holidays such as Christmas. Malamud uses humor to demonstrate these differences through the characterization of a talking bird who uses Yiddish-inflected speech with the phrase “thanks God” (322), and “If you haven’t got matjes [herring prepared in salt, vinegar, and spices], I’ll take schmaltz [herring in chicken fat]” (322). Irony can be found in the names of the characters Schwartz and Cohen. Schwartz, in Yiddish, means black and Cohen refers to the Cohen tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. Cohens are the high priests of Judaism. It is ironic that Cohen is the last name of the one who has lost his religion and Schwartz is the name of the one who has remained steadfast and rooted in his religion. It is this particular irony that establishes the conflict between Cohen and Schwartz.

Cohen is the embodiment of anti-Semitism. He has rejected his Jewish heritage, lost his capacity for charity, is more concerned with assimilating and raising his status; hence, persecutes and torments the bird because Schwartz represents everything that Cohen has attempted to leave behind. It is ironic that Schwartz, who is displaced


... Unit 5 – Regression Analysis Mikeja R. Cherry American InterContinental University Abstract In this brief, I will demonstrate selected perceptions of the company Nordstrom, Inc., a retailer that specializes in fashion apparel with over 12 million dollars in sales last year. I will research, review, and analyze perceptions of the company, create graphs to show qualitative and quantitative analysis, and provide a summary of my findings. Introduction Nordstrom, Inc. is a retailer that specializes in fashion apparel for men, women and kids that was founded in 1901. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with over 61,000 employees world-wide as of February 2, 2013. (Business Wire, 2014) Nordstrom, Inc. offers on online store, e-commerce, retail stores, mobile commerce and catalogs to its consumers. It operates 117 full-line stores within the United States and 1 store in Canada, 167 Nordstrom Rack stores, 1 clearance store under the Last Chance Banner, 1 philanthropic treasure & bond store called Trunk Club and 2 Jeffrey boutiques. The option of shopping online is also available at www.nordstrom.com along with an online private sale subsidiary Hautelook. They have warehouses, also called fulfillment centers, which manages majority of their shipping needs that are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Business Source Premier, 2014) Nordstrom, Inc. continues to make investments in their e-commerce business; they...

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