Jewish Experience in "The Painted Bird" and "Mr. Sammler's Planet"

Decent Essays
During the Holocaust about three and a half million Jewish people were killed, that is three million people that were of the oldest religion in existence, Judaism. The Jewish faith can be traced back up to 6000 years. There is one common denominator throughout those six thousand years, persecution. The violence and casting out of the Jews did not begin with the Holocaust, anti-semantic actions have been in society for thousands of years, and yet the people of this faith are still present in today's world. To understand why Saul Bellows and Jerzy Kosinski wrote Mr. Sammler's Planet and The Painted Bird, the reader must understand the reality of the suffering inflicted upon the Jewish people. Without this understanding, the themes of…show more content…
Sammler's Planet. This journey is seen on two completely different levels, that of a child living in the experience and that of a man remembering the experience. The points of view used by Bellows and Kosinski are completely diverse from each other. The child in The Painted Bird reacts only on what he hears and sees while Mr. Sammler can reflect upon his thoughts with an intelligence only brought forth through life experiences and age. In Bellow's novel the reader is given an inside view to Sammler's thoughts, so the journey he takes to rediscover or redefine his faith is evident. Sammler's recollection on killing the soldier to save his own life defines for the reader a perfect example of the self admitted lack of faith Sammler possessed as well as the readmission of his relationship with God.

To kill the man and to kill him without pity, for he was dispensed from pity.

There was a flash, a blot of fiery white. When he shot again it was less to make

sure of the man than to try again for that bliss. To drink more flames. He would

have thanked God for that opportunity. If he had had any God. At that time he did

not. For many years, in his own mind, there was no judge but himself.

(Bellow 141).

In The Painted Bird the young protagonist also has a journey through faith, but it is much different than the journey Bellow's protagonist takes. The innocence of the small Jewish boy is due to his age. At such a young age things tend to just be the
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