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Mothers in the Jewish Cultural ImaginationJewish Cultural Studies Volume 5$
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Jane L. Kanarek, Marjorie Lehman, and Simon J Bronner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764661

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764661.001.0001

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The Jewish Mother as Metonym for Community in Postwar America

The Jewish Mother as Metonym for Community in Postwar America

Chapter:
(p.169) Eight The Jewish Mother as Metonym for Community in Postwar America
Source:
Mothers in the Jewish Cultural Imagination
Author(s):

Josh Lambert

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906764661.003.0009

This chapter considers the way in which the mother–son relationship depicted in Adele Wiseman's novel Crackpot in 1974 functions as a feminist critique of the Jewish mother in post-war America. It identifies a maternal character who affirms traditionalism and parochialism that acts as the guardian of identity and a bridge between the old world and the new. It also mentions Hoda, the protagonist of Crackpot and a prostitute, who decides to continue having sex with her son to create a relationship through which she can pass on the Jewish culture she learned from her father's stories. The chapter discusses the incestuous relationship in Crackpot, which models a picture of community that is simultaneously dependent and independent of genealogy. It argues that the novel vision of the Jewish mother is consonant with other Jewish cultural trends of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Keywords:   mother–son relationship, post-war America, Jewish mother, Crackpot, incestuous relationship

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