Cultural Messages in Solomon Gursky Was Here Essay

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Cultural Messages in Solomon Gursky Was Here

Solomon Gursky Was Here  is an epic novel spanning nearly a century and a half, from the mid 1800's to 1980's.  It is the story of the obsession of  Moses Berger, a Rhodes scholar turned alcoholic, with Solomon Gursky, the charismatic son of a poor immigrant.  Solomon, with his brother Bernard and Morrie, built the massive liquor empire of McTavish industries.  Moses is attempting to write a biography of Solomon, which becomes his life's work.  Through his investigations the complex story of five generations of Gurskys is revealed.  The eldest is Ephraim, Solomon's criminal, perpetually scheming grandfather.  Ephraim, is constantly associated with the
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Then there are the peasants from the Ukraine, Poland , Italy and

Greece, convenient to grow wheat and dig out ore and swing the

hammers and run the restaurants, but otherwise to be kept in their

place .  Most of us are still huddled tight to the border,

looking  into the candy store window, scared by the Americans on

one side and the bush on the other."(P.'s398-399)


This says, in no uncertain terms, that Canada is compromised of

people not worthy of other countries.  The satirical nature of

this statement is alluded to by harsh words, such as "holding

tank" and "scared".  Also by impersonal words, such as "progeny".

Most Canadians do not, as this says, envy the Americans and think

of America as a "candy store".   Richler is attacking some typical

stereotypes of Canada and Canadians by exemplifying them.


Moses, who is Richler's voice in the novel, exhibits many

autobiographical characteristics: English speaking resident of

Montreal, raised on Jean Mance street.  He has a strong religious

backround (Jewish), smokes a cigars, writes professionally and

lived in London, England
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