Analysis Of David Bezmozgis 's An Animal And The Memory
1201 WordsMar 22, 20175 Pages
What does it mean to be Jewish? For many, that identification of Judaism is closely aligned with more than traditional upbringings or religious and cultural observances. The collective meaning behind being a Jewish person is rooted in memory, and the Holocaust itself is often the crucial link to a shared Jewish past. It is the central part of that history and identity, connected to a larger narrative of pain, trauma or even shame. The short story by David Bezmozgis "An Animal to the Memory" illustrates such a situation. By making the argument that The Holocaust is completely rooted in the communal Jewish identity. And while keeping the memory of The Holocaust alive is important, Bezmozgis also makes the case that there must be a sort of…show more content…
"At school, I kept to myself, glowered in the hallways, and, with the right kind of provocation, punched people in the face." Mark is expected to feel a certain way about being Jewish, but that label means something different for him then it means for his parents. Such as when his family is leaving his grandparents in Vienna at the beginning of the story, his grandfather refuses to go chasing them around the globe. His reasoning being
Grandfather: “There, I’ll never have to hear dirty Jew,”
Mark’s father/ uncle: “So Instead you’ll hear dirty Russian.” Grandfather: “Maybe, but you’re going to have to hear both” (Bezmozgis, 68)
The Holocaust becomes the center of this. Whether it be at his Hebrew school, where Jewish history shaped not only the curriculum they learn. But, also as a collective identity shared by a new and contemporary Jewish generation. While still being connected to the past. This is a struggle for Mark, who does not even identify himself as Jewish for most of the story, He is continuously challenged with where to place himself in this new world, as a second-generation immigrant to Toronto. For Mark, being a young Latvian Jew is not easy.
Whether Mark likes it or not, The Holocaust becomes central to how he comes to term with how his own personal identity, and how it is to be shaped. It later becomes the enforcer of the