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The Shawl ()


This slender volume consists of two award-winning short stories, both originally published in The New Yorker.  In The Shawl (1980), Rosa Lublin is reduced to having her baby, Magda, suck on a shawl, in order to keep her quite enough to escape the notice of concentration camp guards.  But when her niece, Stella, takes the shawl the baby is discovered and murdered in a particularly brutal fashion.

Rosa (1983) takes place thirty years later in Miami.  Rosa has recently destroyed her antique/junk shop in New York City.  Now she barely scrapes by in a dingy hotel room, funded by Stella, the two joined to each other by secrets and guilt.  She spends much of her time writing letters to Magda, on any pieces of paper she can scrounge.

Though Stella says that life is divided into three parts for survivors : "The life before, the life during, the life after", Rosa finds herself eternally stuck in "during."  The awful experiences of the past continue to dominate her life.  For much of this story she is awaiting a package from Stella, a package that will contain the shawl : "Magda's shawl! Magda's swaddling cloth.  Magda's shroud."

Stella is a difficult woman, loathing everyone and everything around her.  But then, who can blame her ?  It is more a testament to the resilience of the human soul in general, than an indictment of this particular character, that more of the survivors of the Holocaust were not so embittered.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (B)

  

Websites:

See also:

Short Stories
Cynthia Ozick Links:

   -ESSAY: WHAT HELEN KELLER SAW: The making of a writer (CYNTHIA OZICK, 2003-06-09, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: Where Hatred Trumps Bread: What does the Palestinian nation offer the world? (Cynthia Ozick, June 30, 2003, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY: Don't take down the wall of separation: Religious education is vital for this country - but not on Uncle Sam's tab (Cynthia Ozick, 1/10/00, BeliefNet)

Book-related and General Links:
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "Cynthia Ozick"
    -ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA : Ozick, Cynthia
    -EXCERPT : Chapter One of Quarrel & Quandary :  Essays
    -ESSAY : From Kafka To Babel : 'No Iron Spike Can Pierce a Human Heart as Fully as a Period in the Right Place' (CYNTHIA OZICK, October 28, 2001, LA TIMES)
    -ESSAY : Against Modernity : the American Academy in the '20s (Cynthia Ozick, New Criterion)
    -ESSAY : Why Aren't Christians Speaking Out? (Cynthia Ozick, Commentary Magazine)
    -ESSAY :  SPELLS, WISHES, GOLDFISH, OLD SCHOOL HURTS (Cynthia Ozick, January 31, 1982, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : REDISCOVERIES; More Than Just A Victorian (Cynthia Ozick;  January 1, 1995, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : SCIENCE AND LETTERS: GOD'S WORK - AND OURS (Cynthia Ozick, September 27, 1987,  NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : ABOUT BOOKS; THE MUSE, POSTMODERN AND HOMELESS (Cynthia Ozick, January 18, 1987, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : ABOUT BOOKS; THE LIBRARY OF NONEXISTENT CLASSICS (Cynthia Ozick, April 12, 1987, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : ABOUT BOOKS; WHERE ORPHANS CAN STILL BECOME HEIRESSES (Cynthia Ozick, March 8, 1987, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : ABOUT BOOKS; GOOD NOVELISTS, BAD CITIZENS (Cynthia Ozick, February 15, 1987, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : A BIBLIOPHILE'S PACT WITH GENIUS (Cynthia Ozick, September 14, 1986, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY :  WRITERS DOMESTIC AND DEMONIC  (Cynthia Ozick, March 25, 1984, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : Diary by Cynthia Ozick (Slate)
    -REVIEW : of The Bloody Crossroads: Where Literature and Politics Meet by Norman Podhoretz (Cynthia Ozick, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of CARPENTER'S GOTHIC By William Gaddis (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of PROOFS And Three Parables. By George Steiner (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of UNDER THE JAGUAR SUN By Italo Calvino (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THEODORE DREISER At the Gates of the City 1871-1907. By Richard Lingeman (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of HIM WITH HIS FOOT IN HIS MOUTH AND OTHER STORIES By Saul Bellow (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of LIFE & TIMES OF MICHAEL K By J. M. Coetzee (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of PIPERS AT THE GATES OF DAWN, The Wisdom of Children's Literature. By Jonathan Cott  (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER By Isaac Bashevis Singer (Cynthia Ozick,  NY Times Book Review)
    -SPEECH : on the retirement of Norman Podhoretz (Cynthia Ozick, Commentary)
    -SYMPOSIUM : ZIONISM AT 100: A SYMPOSIUM : With articles by Daniel Bell, Leon Botstein, Arthur Hertzberg, Michael Ignatieff, Tony Judt, Charles Krauthammer, David S. Landes, Richard A. Landes, Walter Laqueur, George L. Mosse, Cynthia Ozick, David Pryce-Jones, Michael Walzer, Steven Weinberg, Ruth R. Wisse and Edward Witten (New Republic)
    -LETTER : Apr 9, 1998 Cynthia Ozick: ANNE FRANK'S AFTERLIFE (NY Review of Books)
    -INTERVIEW : with Cynthia Ozick (National Book Foundation)
    -PROFILE : Cynthia Ozick (Joseph Lowin, American Israel Cooperative)
    -PROFILE : The Many Faces of Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Monthly, May 1997)
    -Internet Public Library : Online Literary Criticism Collection : Cynthia Ozick (1928 - )
    -Cynthia Ozick research homepage (Derek Royal)
    -Cynthia Ozick at the Complete Review
    -PROFILE : Being Nice or Rotten in Writing (Richard Bernstein, October 3, 1989, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : THE RICH VISIONS OF CYNTHIA OZICK  (1983) (Eve Ottenberg, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : CYNTHIA OZICK'S RABBINICAL APPROACH TO LITERATURE (MERVYN ROTHSTEIN, March 25, 1987, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : LOOKING FOR A GOOD ARGUMENT  (Arthur Krystal, June 9, 1985, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : READING AND WRITING; SHORTER IS BETTER   (Le Anne Schreiber, February 20, 1983,  NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : Triangles of History and the Slippery Slope of Jewish American Identity in Two Stories by Cynthia Ozick.(Janet L. Cooper, Melus)
    -ESSAY : Limning the Cannibal Galaxy : Cynthia Ozick's Moral Imagination (Arlene Fish Wilner, Criticism)
    -ARCHIVES : "Cynthia Ozick" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : "Cynthia ozick" (Mag Portal)
    -ARCHIVES : ozick (NY Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES : Ozick (Salon)
    -ARCHIVES : Cynthia Ozick (Slate)
    -REVIEW : of THE SHAWL By Cynthia Ozick (1989) (Francine Prose, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick (Complete Review)
    -ANNOTATED REVIEW : of The Shawl (Martin Kohn, Medical Humanities, NYU)
    -REVIEW : of The Puttermesser Papers (Joan Smith, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of The Puttermesser Papers (ANNELI RUFUS, Jewish Bulletin)
    -REVIEW : of THE PUTTERMESSER PAPERS By Cynthia Ozick (1997) (Richard Bernstein, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THE PUTTERMESSER PAPERS By Cynthia Ozick (1997) (Jack Miles, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Puttermesser Papers, by Cynthia Ozick (James Gardner, National Review)
    -REVIEW : of FAME & FOLLY Essays. By Cynthia Ozick (1996) (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of FAME & FOLLY Essays. By Cynthia Ozick (1996) (Brooke Allen, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of  Fame & Folly (Leslie Schenk, World Literature Today)
    -REVIEW : of METAPHOR & MEMORY Essays. By Cynthia Ozick (1989) (Robert Kiely, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE MESSIAH OF STOCKHOLM By Cynthia Ozick (1987) (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THE MESSIAH OF STOCKHOLM By Cynthia Ozick (1987) (Harold Bloom, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE CANNIBAL GALAXY. By Cynthia Ozick (1983) (Edmund White, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Cannibal Galaxy (1983) (Complete Review)
    -REVIEW : of ART & ARDOR By Cynthia Ozick</a> (1983) (Katha Pollitt, NY Times Book Review)
   
-REVIEW : of LEVITATION. Five Fictions. By Cynthia Ozick (1982) (John Leonard, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of LEVITATION Five Fictions. By Cynthia Ozick (Leslie Epstein, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of QUARREL & QUANDARY Essays By Cynthia Ozick (2000) (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY times)
    -REVIEW : of QUARREL & QUANDARY Essays. By Cynthia Ozick (2000) (John Sutherland, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Quarrel & Quandary (Marcela Valdes, City Pages)
    -REVIEW : of Quarrel & Quandary (Edward Alexander, Jerusalem Post)
    -REVIEW : of Quarrel & Quandary : Essays by Cynthia Ozick (Kabir Dandona, Tikkun)
    -AWARD : Cynthia Ozick Chosen For Short-Story Award : Rea Award for the Short Story (April 10, 1986, NY times)

GENERAL :
    -ESSAY : AMERICAN-JEWISH WRTIERS: ON EDGE ONCE MORE (Ted Solotaroff, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : WOMEN WHO WRITE ARE WOMEN (Elaine Showalter, December 16, 1984, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FEMINIST FICTION? (Elinor Langer, March 4, 1984, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of  Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing Baskin, Judith R., Ed. (Susan Einbinder, American Jewish Archives)
    -REVIEW : of Jewish American Literature : a Norton Anthology (STANLEY TRACHTENBERG, News-Observer)

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