Ozzie Freedman Portrayed as a Hero
A hero can be defined as one who inspires through manners and actions; who leads through personal example. Under this definition, the character Ozzie Freedman from Philip Roth’s “The Conversion of the Jews” (1959) can be classified as a hero. The sections of Discoveries: Fifty Stories of the Quest (Schechter & Semekis 1992): The Call, The Other, The Journey, Helpers and Guides, The Treasure, and Transformation, can be applied to the story about Ozzie to support it’s inclusion in this class, entitled “Myth of the Hero”.
The chapter on The Call describes that a hero may be “on the brink of a decisive change” (21) and they “perceive the danger…show more content… When Ozzie tells his mother, Mrs. Freedman, why she must meet with the rabbi, “she hit Ozzie across the face with her hand” (Roth, 385). The next week, he stood up to the rabbi once more saying he believed God could do anything, and the rabbi hit him “squarely on the nose” (387). Rabbi Binder and Mrs. Freedman have blind faith in their religion, and are not open to change or accepting of other beliefs. They are so appalled by Ozzie’s questioning that they turn to violence to try to snap him out of it. Ozzie, however, realizes they are wrong and that one should always be able to follow their personal beliefs on God. He tells his mother, ‘“You shouldn’t hit me about God Mamma. You should never hit anybody about God-”’ (394).
A Helper and Guide is supposed to be a figure “who assist[s] the protagonist along the difficult road” (Schechter & Semekis, 9). In “The Conversion of the Jews”, Rabbi Binder is supposed to Ozzie’s spiritual leader in the Jewish faith. However, he lashes out at Ozzie for asking intelligent and perceptive questions about God and the Jewish religion. By being defensive and non-understanding, the rabbi winds up turning Ozzie away from the Jewish religion and in turn is given a message about religion and faith from Ozzie while he is up on the roof of the synagogue.
Heroes pursue The Treasure because “they believe that the things they are looking for will
boy named Ozzie Freedman, constantly challenges the authority of his religious teacher, Rabbi Binder, by asking him rather provocative questions about religion; Binder cannot answer these questions satisfactorily but instead resorts