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Literarische Texte verlangen nach einer Einordnung in den landeskundlichen Hintergrund. In einer Gemeinschaftsarbeit zeigen Britta Buch und Gesine Jost die für eine Auseinandersetzung mit Bernard Malamuds The Assistant wesentlichen Voraussetzungen auf und entwickeln entsprechende didaktisch-methodische Überlegungen.




Aufbau eines Verständnishorizontes
für Bernard Malamud, The Assistant

Britta Buch



Inhaltsverzeichnis


I) Vorbemerkung

II) Doppelstunde: Thema: American Dream und dessen Bezug zu The Assistant
    1. Einstieg/ Erarbeitung: A Werbeanzeigen
        alternativ: B Lieder (siehe G. Jost)
    2. Brainstorming zu dem American Dream
    3. Erarbeitung: Analyse des Textes von James Truslow: The Epic of America
    4. Transfer zu The Assistant: L-S-Gespräch

III) Doppelstunde: Thema: Jewishness und Jewishness in The Assistant
    1. Einstieg/Erarbeitung: A Four Jewish immigration waves
        alternativ:
        a) Arbeit anhand eines Lexikonartikels
        b) Gruppenarbeit zu einem Text
        alternativ oder ergänzend: B Jewish religion/tradition (siehe G. Jost)
        Mögliche Themen zu Jewishness in The Assistant:
    2. Erarbeitung/Transfer: Morris Bober’s Jewishness
    3. Vergleich der drei jüdischen Familien Bober, Karp, Pearl in bezug auf Jewishness
    4. The importance of education to the Bober family
    5. Morris Bober as a "schlimozel"
    6. Frank's process of becoming a Jew (in bezug auf Vorurteile) (siehe G. Jost)

IV) Anhang
    1. Liste aller relevanten Stellen zu Jewishness und American Dream in
        Peter Freeses Teacher's Book
    2. Weiterführende Lektüre zu Jews in the USA / Jewish immigration waves

V) Anmerkungen

VI) Literaturverzeichnis



I) Vorbemerkung

Die Unterrichtssequenz "Aufbau eines Verständnishorizontes für The Assistant" wurde aus organisatorischen Gründen im Rahmen von zwei Doppelstunden geplant, die der detaillierten Textanalyse vorausgehen sollen. Dies schließt jedoch nicht aus, dass der/die LehrerIn sich je nach Präferenz dazu entschließen kann, einzelne Bestandteile in die Textanalyse zu integrieren. Es wäre beispielsweise denkbar, die Jewish immigration waves zu dem Zeitpunkt zu behandeln, wenn Morris Bobers Familiengeschichte besprochen wird. Diese Vorgehensweise würde sich anbieten, wenn der/die LehrerIn feststellen sollte, dass die Motivation für den Roman so groß ist, dass die SchülerInnen am liebsten gleich mit der Diskussion der Lektüre beginnen möchten. Dadurch würde vermieden, dass die Einführung in das Thema von den SchülerInnen als zu lang und dadurch motivationshemmend empfunden wird.

Weiterhin ist darauf hinzuweisen, dass die erste Doppelstunde zum American Dream und dessen Bezug zu The Assistant auf dem Hintergrund konzipiert wurde, dass bis zu dem Zeitpunkt der Lektüre von The Assistant der American Dream im Unterricht noch nicht thematisiert worden ist.

Alle Textangaben beziehen sich auf die im Schöningh Verlag erschienene Schülerausgabe von The Assistant von Peter Freese. (1)

II) Doppelstunde

Thema: American Dream und dessen Bezug zu The Assistant

Erste Stunde:

1.) Einstieg/Erarbeitung:

A) Werbeanzeigen oder alternativ B) Lieder (Only in America und America aus der West Side Story, siehe dazu die Ausführungen Gesine Josts)

A) Werbeanzeigen (20 Minuten)

1.1.) Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

Da im Vorfeld der Unterrichtsstunde durch etwa das Austeilen eines Textbuches zum American Dream oder Angabe eines Kapitels zum American Dream nicht schon deutlich wird, welches das Thema der Unterrichtsstunde ist, besteht die Möglichkeit, die SchülerInnen selbst erarbeiten zu lassen, um welches Thema es sich in dieser Doppelstunde handeln soll. Als Lehrperson sollte man die Gelegenheit nutzen, SchülerInnen ganz "unbelastet" auf ein Thema einzustimmen.

In der Unterrichtspraxis gestaltet sich das im allgemeinen als sehr schwierig, da aus organisatorischen Gründen die Themen meistens schon längere Zeit vorher bekannt sind.

Die kurze Analyse der zwei Werbeanzeigen (Anzeigen: siehe Anlagen 1/1, 1/2), von denen die SchülerInnen je nur eine zur Bearbeitung vorgelegt bekommen, soll die SchülerInnen an das Thema American Dream heranführen, ohne dass vorher explizit auf dieses Thema hingewiesen worden ist. Indem die SchülerInnen die Aussagen der Anzeigen formulieren, tragen sie wichtige Informationen zu dem allgemeinen Verständnis des American Dreams zusammen, ohne sich dessen bewusst zu sein.

Es wäre wünschenswert, dass einige der SchülerInnen angesichts solcher einschlägigen Formulierungen wie could make you very, very rich or very, very happy, self-made millionaire, greatest salesman in the world, drive for success, alerting them to opportunities, We're all created equal. After that, baby, you're on your own! die inhaltliche Verbindung dieser Vorstellungen mit dem American Dream sehen und aus eigener Initiative in das Unterrichtsgespräch miteinbeziehen. Es ist möglich, dass einige SchülerInnen schon auf ein gewisses Vorwissen bezüglich des American Dream zurückgreifen können, da in der Jahrgangsstufe 11 zunehmend mehr SchülerInnen ein Jahr in den USA verbringen. Ein/e ehemalige/r AustauschschülerIn könnte etwa auch schon einmal solche Phrasen wie etwa from rags to riches gehört haben. Sollte wider Erwarten kein Vorwissen vorhanden sein, muss der/die LehrerIn selbst zum brainstorming über den American Dream überleiten.

Werbeanzeigen: Success Unlimited Advertisement (2) und Fortune Magazine Advertisement (3)

1.2.) Aufgaben für beide Werbeanzeigen:

a) Describe what you see in the picture!
b) What sort of a text is this?
c) What do you think is the message of this text?

Sammeln der Informationen an der Tafel:

Fortune Magazine Advertisement (Anzeige: siehe Anlage 1/2):

erwartetes Schülerverhalten zu a)
+ There is a picture of a baby. It seems to be happy and content. The baby is almost naked, it only wears diapers. The baby faces the specatator/camera. The black background focuses all attention on the baby. The headline is written in bold type and says: "We're all created equal. After that, baby, you're on your own." Under the picture there is a short body which is divided up into three columns. Each sentence is separated from the following sentence by several empty spaces. At the bottom of the page you can find another slogan in bold type which reads "Fortune. How to succeed."

...zu b)
+ When you read through the text, it becomes clear that this text must be an advertisement for a business magazine : "...your business reading naturally starts with FORTUNE.","...FORTUNE has been the magazine of business success for over 50 years", "...the business magazine you rely on." etc.

...zu c)
+ The message of the text is summed up in the slogan at the end of the body: "Fortune. How to succeed." The slogan claims that this business magazine is capable of showing you the way to your personal success. It is suggested that by the help of FORTUNE everybody is able to become successful in life. Although this is the main message of the advert, it also alerts the reader to the fact that only the individual himself/herself is responsible for his/her own success. One should not rely on others but only on oneself. It says that nowadays society demands of people to be ambitious.
The advertisement also asserts that FORTUNE can help you make the right decisions, can make you aware of opportunities and dangers. Reading the FORTUNE business magazine is said to help you to be successful and, perhaps even more important, to remain successful in life: "Nobody's going to hand you success on a silver plate.", "If you want to make it, you'll have to make it on your own.", ...ambition...it's OK to be up-front about the drive for success."," alerting them to opportunities and dangers up ahead.", FORTUNE...can help you make it - and keep it."

evtl.+ The advertisement reminds me of what people call the American Dream which also means that everybody can become successful and rich but also that everbody is responsible for his/her own success or failure.

Success Unlimited Advertisement (Anzeige: siehe Anlage 1/1):

Erwartetes Schülerverhalten zu a/b)
+First of all the reader's attention is drawn to this advertisement because of the caption which runs: "Caution. Think twice before you ignore this ad." This is an unusual way of introducing an advert, and therefore it makes the reader of this newspaper/magazine aware of this particular advert. It makes the reader curious to learn what this advert is about. Below the caption there are three small pictures which differ greatly from each other. The first one is a "mini-advertisement" of the "Success Unlimited" magazine in the shape of a huge billboard. The second one consists of a close-up of a street sign which reads "Wallstreet" and the third one shows a family that walks along the beach.
The atmosphere is peaceful and the family appears to be very happy. The woman and the man embrace each other while walking and a small child is walking besides them. A subtitle which says "Just one idea in just one issue could make you very, very rich or very, very happy" is placed below the pictures. The subtitle is then followed by a body divided into three columns. Whenever "Success Unlimited" appears in the text, it is printed in bold type. At the bottom of the advertisement a subscription form for "Success Unlimited" is included.

... zu c)
+The main message of the text is that a subscription of the "Success Unlimited" magazine can make you rich and happy. "Success Unlimited" supposedly shows you how to become financially successful. It is said that "Success Unlimited" draws on the experiences of very successful business people. But "Success Unlimited" not only claims to be beneficial to your career but also to help you improve your relationships to other people and your health. By mentioning the editors of the magazine, of whom one is a self-made millionaire and the other the author of books like "The Greatest Salesman in the World", it is suggested that if you subscribe to "Success Unlimited" you can become just as successful as these editors. The repeated use of "rich" implies that the effects of a "Success Unlimited" subscription will be extraordinary.

evtl. +Words like "self-made millionaire" and "Greatest Salesman in the World" make me think of the concept of the American Dream. The American Dream is about the idea that every individual is able to become successful and rich no matter what his/her social background is.

2.) Brainstorming zu dem American Dream (10 Minuten)

2.1.) Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

Die Ergebnisse des brainstormings zu dem American Dream werden zusammengetragen und auf einer Folie am Tageslichtprojektor schriftlich fixiert. Der Einsatz dieses Mediums macht es möglich, die ersten spontanen Reaktionen zu dem American Dream später zu reflektieren, mit den Ergebnissen einer eingehenden Analyse zu vergleichen und das anfänglich intuitive Verständnis von dem American Dream gegebenenfalls zu revidieren. Um dieses Vorgehen zu gewährleisten, sollen die Äußerungen der SchülerInnen weitestgehend unkommentiert aufgenommen werden. Auch die vermeintlich leichte Frage nach dem Gegenteil von einem Traum kann einen weiteren Ansatzpunkt für spätere Diskussionen liefern. Werden die SchülerInnen als Gegenteil die Realität benennen oder etwa auch den Alptraum?

Es wäre wünschenswert, dass die SchülerInnen nach den ersten Versuchen, den American Dream zu beschreiben, selbst den inhaltlichen Bezug von den vorher besprochenen Werbeanzeigen bzw. Liedern zu dem American Dream erkennen und zur Unterstützung ihres ersten Definitionsversuchs heranziehen, so dass die Frage danach nicht von dem/der LehrerIn gestellt werden muss (d).

2.2. Leitfragen zum brainstorming:

a) Have you ever heard of the expression The American Dream?
b) How would you define a dream? What is the opposite of a dream?
c) What comes to your mind when you think of the The American Dream?
    What do you think is The American Dream?
d) Is there any information in the adverts (or the song) which helps to say what the The American Dream, as we have just described it, is?

erwartetes Schülerverhalten zu a)
+I have heard of that term but I am not quite sure what it means. +The American Dream means that somebody who was poor becomes very rich without the help of relatives or friends. + ---

... zu b)
+A dream is something you wish to come true. A dream is something you want to be turned into reality. A dream sometimes helps you to cope with the present situation. A dream is something that has not materialized yet. A dream is almost always something positive you imagine to happen. The opposite of a dream is reality. The opposite of a dream can be a nightmare. A dream can turn into a nightmare.

... zu c)
+I think the American Dream is referred to when people say somebody rose from a "Tellerwäscher zum Millionär." +The American Dream means that everybody has the chance to become successful in life/ everything is possible. +When somebody despite being from a very poor family still has many amibitions and then these amibitions to his own advantages and becomes successful in life, an American Dream came true.

... zu d)
+"Only in America" speaks of America as the "land of opportunity" and of all the things that are possible in America as, for example, to become rich. This is what the American Dream is also about.

The "Fortune Magazine" advertisement is also about "opportunities" and "ambitions." It adds the idea that everybody is self-responsible for his/her fate. Furthermore, it suggests that the American Dream is not about inheriting money, and a social position/prestige but about being successful out of your own initiative.

The "Success Unlimited" advert claims that it will help you to make the American Dream come true in the sense that one becomes "very, very rich" and "very, very happy." In addition to aiming at material wealth, the American Dream also strives for giving people personal happiness.

3.) Erarbeitung: Analyse des Textes von James Truslow: The Epic of America

(Text: siehe Anlage 2)

3.1.) Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

Da Truslow als erster den Terminus American Dream benutzte und definierte, ist The Epic of America als ein sehr zentraler und damit geeigneter Text anzusehen, um in das ursprüngliche Verständnis des Amerikanischen Traumes einzuführen. Als Hintergundinformation gibt der/die Lehrerin einige kurze Informationen zu der sogenannten Great Depression (1929-31) und deren Auswirkungen. Dadurch soll eine Einordnung in den historischen Kontext gewährleistet werden. Anschließend sollen die SchülerInnen die Kernpunkte von Truslows Definition des Amerikanischen Traumes erarbeiten. Hierbei ist es für unsere Zwecke hinreichend, sich auf den ersten Teil des Textes (bis Zeile 29) zu beschränken.

3.2.) Einstieg (mündl., 5 Minuten):

What time are we talking about when we discuss the time of the Great Depression?

+--- + We are talking about the time around 1930.

Kurzer Lehrervortrag:
+ The Epic of America was published in 1931 at the height of the Great Depression. At that time the effects of the Great Depression for the population were very alerting: 25 % of the workers were unemployed, confrontations between police and protestors demanding relief were common, people feared a social revolution, thousands committed suicide, soup kitchens in church basements for all the hungry and homeless people were opened.

The term The American Dream was first introduced by James Truslow Adams but its ideas have existed long before. They had, for example, already been developed in the Declaration of Independence of the year 1776.

3.3.) Textrezeption (10 Minuten):

Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:
Der vorliegende Text soll von den SchülerInnen zunächst in Stillarbeit einmal komplett gelesen werden, um den Inhalt gut auf sich wirken lassen zu können und ihn zu verstehen. Anschließend soll er abschnittsweise von zwei bis drei SchülerInnen vorgelesen werden, da der Text gut verständlich ist, d.h. sowohl die Syntax als auch der Schwierigkeitsgrad des Vokabulars übersteigt das Niveau der SchülerInnen nicht. Der Text ist im Stil einer Rede geschrieben und ist daher am wirkungsvollsten, wenn er laut und mit guter Betonung vorgelesen wird.

Textrezeption:
1.) Leises Lesen
2.) Lautes gemeinsames Lesen des Textes

Zweite Stunde

3.4.) Erarbeitung (Stillarbeitphase, 10 Minuten):

Erarbeitung von The Epic of America unter der Fragestellung:
Name the major points of Adam's definition of the American Dream!
(Die SchülerInnen sollen sich bereits Notizen machen, damit das Zusammentragen der Kernpunkte im Plenum möglichst zügig vor sich gehen kann.)

3.5.) Erarbeitung (Plenum, 15 Minuten):

Die Ergebnisse der Stillarbeitsphase (oder wahlweise auch Partnerarbeit) werden zusammengetragen und an der Tafel fixiert:

Adam's definition of the American Dream:

-It is a dream (3, vision based on hope, faith in the future, not reality, in contrast to proven facts)
-It concerns a life which is better, richer and fuller for every man (4/5)
-provides the chance to be successful to everyone (4/5, "opportunity for each according to his ability and achievement")
-all men are equal/social equality (14/15,19,25)
-no class distinction, no discrimination (25/26)
-offers material plenty (22)
-offers self-development to everyone (24)

4.) Transfer zu The Assistant: L-S-Gespräch (20 Minuten)

4.1. Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

Im Vorfeld der Unterrichtsstunde war nicht schon bekannt, was als Thema in dieser Doppelstunde behandelt wird. Dagegen wissen die SchülerInnen zu dem Zeitpunkt dieser Unterrichtsstunde aber schon, dass sie in naher Zukunft den Roman The Assistant behandeln werden, dessen vollständige Lektüre zu einer der nächsten Stunden als Hausaufgabe aufgegeben wurde. Daher ist es möglich, dass ein oder einige SchülerInnen schon eine erste Parallele zwischen dem Amerikanischen Traum und den Zielen der Charaktere wie Morris Bober oder Frank Alpine ziehen. Selbst wenn der Roman von den SchülerInnen oder einigen SchülerInnen noch nicht komplett gelesen wurde, ist auch nach der Lektüre der ersten Kapitel, schon eine erste Stellungnahme zu einer Verbindung zwischen den gerade behandelten Themen und The Assistant möglich. Sollten also Bezugspunkte zu dem Roman genannt werden, sind sie von der/dem LehrerIn wiederum auf einer Folie zu fixieren, um die ersten Eindrücke mit den Ergebnissen einer späteren genauen Analyse vergleichen zu können.

Wenn spontan keine Verbindungen zum baldigen Unterrichtsthema The Assistant hergestellt werden, liegt es an der/dem LehrerIn anzuregen, über eine mögliche Verbindung zwischen dem Amerikanischen Traum und dem Schicksal der Romanfiguren in The Assistant nachzudenken. Von den SchülerInnen wird an dieser Stelle nicht erwartet, dass sie konkrete Textstellen benennen können, um Parallelen zu dem Roman zu belegen. Es soll lediglich festgestellt werden, ob und wenn ja welche Bezugspunkte die SchülerInnen sie sehen. Sie sollen aus ihrer Erinnerung spontan ihre Eindrücke äußern.
Die Beiträge sollen wiederum weitestgehend unkommentiert aufgenommen werden, da sie nur als erster Einstieg dienen, dann aber der Bezug des American Dreams zu The Assistant zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt durch konkrete Textarbeit- und analysen vertieft werden soll. Damit spätere Rückbezüge zu den ersten Einschätzungen der SchülerInnen möglich sind, sollen die Ergebnisse auf einer Folie fixiert werden.

4.2.) Erster Transfer zu The Assistant unter der Fragestellung:

If you consider the novel The Assistant you are just reading, can you think of any connection between the idea of The American Dream, as we have just described it, and this novel?

Erwartetes Schülerverhalten:
+ I can remember that Morris Bober had very high expectations when he came to America. He wished that in the so-called "land of opportunity" he would also become successful and happy. Thus, he wanted the American Dream to come true for himself.
+ Morris had hoped for success in America but when this success did not materialize he became very frustrated with his life. He tried to be good at something by all means but he failed again and again (business is low, nagging wife, partner cheated on him). For him The American Dream seems to have turned into a nightmare.
+ Although Helen is from a poor social background, she is very ambitious. She wants to achieve something in life, she wants to get a "proper" college education, she wants to gain social prestige. She has a lot of dreams. She envisions these dreams to come true...

III) Doppelstunde

Thema: Jewishness und Jewishness in The Assistant

1.) Einstieg/ Erarbeitung:
A Four Jewish immigration waves
alternativ:
    a) Arbeit anhand eines Lexikoneintrags
    b) Gruppenarbeit
ergänzend oder alternativ
B Jewish religion/traditions (Siehe dazu die Ausführungen
Gesine Josts)

a) Arbeit anhand eines Lexikoneintrag (Lexikoneintrag: siehe Anlage 3):
Eintrag "Jews" im Dictionary of American History. (4)

1.1.) Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

Die Arbeit an einem Lexikonartikel stellt in mancherlei Hinsicht eine gute Abwechslung zu dem "traditionellen" Unterrichtsmaterial dar. Die Texte, die in Lehrbüchern verwendet werden, sind oft speziell für den Lehrwerkeinsatz konzipiert oder zumindest abgewandelt bzw. annotiert worden. Im Gegensatz dazu ist ein Lexikoneintrag ein authentischer Text, mit dem auch der native speaker umgeht. Die Diskussion von dieser Art Text im Unterricht gibt den Oberstufenschülern Selbstsicherheit im Umgang mit der Zielsprache Englisch, da sie die gleichen Texte "bewältigen", wie es Muttersprachler tun. Es ist also davon auszugehen, dass die Arbeit am Lexikonartikel motivierend für die SchülerInnen sein wird, obwohl sie sicherlich einige Vokabeln mehr als üblich nachschlagen oder aus dem Kontext erschließen müssen. (Sollte des Niveau des Leistungskurses unterdurchschnittlich sein, wäre eine zusätzliche Annotierung des Lexikonartikels hilfreich.)

Der Eintrag zu Juden im Oxford Companion to American History ist auch deswegen für den Unterrichtseinsatz geeignet, weil der Text nicht zu umfangreich ist. Im Sinne eines Lexikoneintrages, werden hier in komprimierter Form die wichtigsten Informationen zu den jüdischen Immigrationswellen in die USA gegeben. Die Informationen werden systematisch dargeboten, und die Sprache ist klar und präzise. Es ist daher sinnvoll, die Aufgabenstellung allgemein zu gestalten, da die Systematisierung von den Schülern in Orientierung an den Aufbau des Lexikonartikels selbst vorgenommen werden kann.

Die zwei Spalten des Eintrages sollten vorab von der/dem LehrerIn am Rand durchnummeriert werden, so dass spätere Textverweise schnell und genau gegeben werden können.

Diese Aufgabe kann auch als Hausaufgabe aufgegeben werden, da die SchülerInnen sehr gut selbstständig mit diesem Lexikoneintrag arbeiten können. Außerdem bedeutet es eine Zeitersparnis, falls man die Unterrichtssequenz etwas straffen möchte.

1.2.) Aufgabe:

Collect all necessary information on the Jewish immigration into the USA!

4 Jewish immgration waves
1st wave: Sephardic (Spanish-Portuguese) Jews, before 1840 (33)
- first arrived at New Amsterdam in 1654 (2)
- 1658: first synagogue in Newport (6)
- at the outbreak of the revolution: 2000 Jews, scattered throughout the colonies (14f)
-small communities with an elite of merchants and bankers and a majority of artisans (15-17)
-last legal limitations on the full political equality of the Jews were removed in 1868 (26-29)

2nd wave: Ashkenazic (German) Jews, 19th century (32f)
- geographically dispersed (50)
- assumed new entrepreneurial roles (51)
- religious communities were not so rigidly disciplined (54f)
-> introduced Reform Judaism, tends towards complete assimilation into community life (61-63)
- 1825-80: large wave from the German ghettos (36f), mostly for economical, social and political reasons (39)

3rd wave: Eastern European (mostly Russian and Polish) Jews, after 1880 (35f)
- fled from Czarist persecution in Russia and Romania (69f)
- beliefs: ranging from rigid orthodoxy to militant secularism (70f)
- became part of the proletariat (72)
- were active in the labor movement, socialist parties (75f)
- brought with them: Yiddish language, Jewish scholarship and strong interest in Jewish homeland and traditions (77-82)
- rapidly assimilated into American life during the time between the two World Wars, mainly joined the middle-class (83-88)

4th wave: European Jews, after 1930 (100)
- fled from Nazi persecution (99f)
- joined Conservative Jews who, at that time, went through a period of religious and cultural awakening (90)
- after 1945: survivors of the Nazi regime immigrated

Jewish population in 1965: 5.585.000, located chiefly in and around New York City

b) Gruppenarbeit zu einem Text

1.1.) Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen:

In der im folgenden geplanten Gruppenarbeit sollen sich die SchülerInnen exemplarisch jeweils mit einer der drei großen Immigrationswellen in die USA vor den 30er Jahren dieses Jahrhunderts auseinandersetzen und dazu einige Fragen beantworten. Dazu wurden Auszüge aus mehreren Kapiteln von C. Bezalel Sherma: The Jew within American Society zusammengestellt, die sich dazu eignen, über die an dieser Stelle wichtigen Punkte zu Jewishness in the USA Auskunft zu geben.

Die vierte große Immigrationswelle ab den 30er Jahren von deutschen Juden, die unter den Verfolgungen des Naziregimes litten, wurde ausgeklammert, da sie als background knowledge für The Assistant irrelevant ist und zudem zu einem anderen Zeitpunkt sicher für deutsche SchülerInnen eine detailliertere gesonderte Betrachtung interessant sein könnte. Da die Ausschnitte zu den ersten drei Immigrationswellen schon eine gewisse Länge haben, erschien es sinnvoll, die Untersuchung auf diese Weise inhaltlich, und damit auch zeitlich, einzuschränken und so für den Unterrichtseinsatz praktikabel zu machen.

Die im folgenden geplante Gruppenarbeit eignet sich zum Unterrichtseinsatz, wenn der/die LehrerIn dem historischen Hintergrund von Jewishness in The Assistant mehr Zeit einräumen möchte. Diese Gruppenarbeit geht sicherlich über das unmittelbar erforderliche Maß an Hintergrundinformation zu The Assistant hinaus, bietet aber die Möglichkeit, einen tieferen Einblick in die Geschichte der Juden in den USA und die Gründe für die Emigration der ersten Generation amerikanischer Juden. Die Gruppenarbeit ermöglicht es den SchülerInnen, intensiv landeskundlich zu arbeiten. Der Umgang mit diesem Thema kann auch deshalb interessant sein, da sie sich einmal mit einer anderen minority group in den USA beschäftigt als dem oft benutzten Beispiel der African Americans.

Wenn die/der LehrerIn kurze, aber dennoch präzise Informationen zu den Immigrationswellen für besser erachtet oder sich aus zeitlichen Gründen dazu gezwungen sieht, wäre der Vorschlag A vorzuziehen.

Die Ergebnisse der Gruppenarbeiten sollen anschließend im Plenum zusammengetragen werden.

Bei niedrigerem Leistungsniveau des Kurses sollten die Textauszüge von der/dem LehrerIn annotiert werden.

(Das "erwartete Schülerverhalten" wird für diese Gruppenarbeit nicht aufgeführt, da es den Rahmen dieser Arbeit sprengen würde. Diese Aufgabe wurde exemplarisch für den Vorschlag A durchgeführt.)

1.2.) Einleitende Bemerkungen des/der Lehrers/in zu Jews as a minority
(basierend auf Textauszüge aus: C. Bezalel Sherman, The Jews within American Society (5).)

Jews as a minority

If there is a white ethnic group in the USA that possesses all characteristic features of a minority, it is the Jews. Most other minority groups differ only in one respect from the majority, for example, the Irish are a religious minority, but linguistically belong to the majority, the Germans are a linguistic minority but belong to the religous majority. However, the Jews have always been a minority in all significant social relations. The Jews differed from the majority in religion and culture, in historical experience and social formation. Other minority groups formed the majority in the countries they had come from, but the Jews were also a minority in all the countries of their emigration. In all of these countries the Jews had been persecuted or at least been discriminated against. For this reason, the Jews, more than any other group, were ideologically motivated. With very few exceptions, individual Jews had a sense of responsibility for the entire Jewish community.

In America, the Jews suffered from the same discriminations as the other immigrant groups. The Jews offered some resistance to the dominant forces of the majority. Resistance led to the mistrust of the majority, but at the same time it strengthened the feelings of solidarity among the Jewish minority. It was the old conflict between assimilating and isolating forces. Every ethnic group had to deal with this conflict, and in this sense the Jews have been no exception.

However, the needs that led to the emigration of the Jews were more pressing than the needs of other minority groups. It was not only poverty from which the Jews suffered in the old countries more than other ethnic groups, they also suffered from discriminations, restrictions and boycotts. The religious persecution from which the Jews had to flee was much more severe. There were other minority groups that came to the States to seek religous freedom, but the Jews came to find physical security as well. Thus the difference between the Jewish and the non-Jewish immigrants can be defined in the following general way: while the others mainly wanted to improve their situation, the Jews frequently looked simply for refuge.

However, the Jewish immigrant does not exist. Jewish immigration took place at different times and the countries the Jews emigrated from were, as I have already mentioned, not only different geographically, but also politically, economically, socially and culturally. Therefore it is our task now to have a closer look at the four Jewish immigration waves into the USA that have been distinguished. When we discuss the four immigration waves we must bear in mind that each of the major waves was actually made up of a number of smaller waves and also that the immigrants in each wave were not necessarily socially homogeneous. Since each of the waves had practically no relation with the other waves, we want to find out in which way the four Jewish immigration waves differed from each other.

I would like you to split up into three groups and then deal with one of the immigration waves. I have written down a few questions on the board. If you like, you may use your dictionaries to look up some difficult words.

1.3.) Fragen für alle 3 Gruppen:

a) Of what nationality were the immigrants?
b) How can the situation that prevailed in the countries of emigration be described?
c) What were the economic conditions in the USA during the period of the immigration wave like?
d) What were the forms of economic integration the immigrants assumed?
e) What was their cultural background?

Textauszüge aus: C. Berzalel Sherman, The Jew within American Society, S. 59-74 (6).

1st immigration wave: The Sephardim, 1654-1840.

The Sephardim - the Spanish-Portuguese-Jews- came from countries which possessed colonies on several continents. They brought with them an experience of mercantilistic operations on a world-wide scale. They settled in several of the larger port cities and engaged largely in import and export, transoceanic and intercolonial trade, and other forms of commerce. These functions were readily adapted to the central economic task of the colonies, the main objective of which was the development of their domestic economy and the finding of a place of their own on the world market. The Sephardic Jews, after achieving adjustment, belonged almost without exception to the possessing classes (...)

The Sephardim were heirs to the traditions of the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry. The Jews of that age distinguished themselves for their loyalty to their religion, on the one hand, and for their broad worldliness in political, social and cultural affairs, on the other. They produced important works of Jewish religion and philosophy and expressed the traditional Jewish longing for the ancient homeland of Palestine in wondrous poetry. (...)
At the same time, they created works of general human interest and value. They were at home in everything that affected their country and the world. Not until the rise of the American Jewish settlement did a Jewish community in the Diaspora succeed so well in establishing as harmonious a balance between their own religious culture and the general secular culture. (...)
The harmony was shattered when the provinces of Arab Spain fell under the political and spiritual domination of Catholic Spain. The fires of the Inquisition destroyed, in the first instance, Jewish learning. Neither in Spain nor in Portugal could the Jews continue to devote themselves to Jewish studies and to observe freely the injunctions of the Jewish religion. From the Jewish point of view, they degenerated; but those who remained Jews brought with them, after the Expulsion from Spain in 1492, that same excruciating loyalty to Judaism which earlier had enabled so many of their co-religionists to accept the martyrdom of the auto-da-fès*. The Sephardim carried the selfsame loyalty with them to the New World (...)
The Sephardim salvaged from their heritage the inner harmony between Jewish religiosity and worldly interests. They possessed a rather high level of secular culture, and what they lacked in Jewish learning they tried to make up for by their piety and devotion to the redicovered faith of their ancestors. They raised no doubts as to the foundations of Jewish being: they accepted their Jewishness and all its varied social manifestations, which centered on the synagogue, as an unquestioned and self-evident matter. The Sephardic were strictly Orthodox...

*autodafè: hier: Ketzergericht- und Verbrennung (aus dem Fremwörterduden)

2nd immigration wave, The German Jews (Ashkenazic), 19th century.

The first German Jews came to America from small towns, and they were very poor. Arriving during the Period when the westward expansion of the frontier was in full swing, great numbers of them shouldered packs and followed the routes of the covered wagons. (...) Because of the enormous and hectic mobility within the country at the time when the German Jewish immigration reached its peak, this wave displayed a much greater tendency than either the first or the third waves to spread out geographically; thus, dozens of Jewish communities throughout the United States owe their establishment to the German Jews.

When they first came here, these Jews belonged to the lowest levels of the petty bourgeoisie. Aside from peddlers, there were also a great variety of small tracers, white-collar and wage workers.(...) Among the German Jews, there was a great difference between the strictly orthodox poor immigrants who came from the backward German provinces, and the more cultured and worldly immigrants of 1848 and after. (...) The German Jews lived in an atmosphere of chronic skepticism during the nineteenth century. This was the shining period of rationalism, to which religion, on the defensive, sought means of adaptation. Capitalism opened the way to the Emancipation of the Jews of western Europe, and the Jews of Germany embarked on that road full of hope and ambition.

In Germany, Emancipation came after centuries of ghetto life. The problem had been to enter positions that had previously been closed to them. (...) Many German Jews sacrificed their religion in order to attain a higher social status. Although only the first rays of Emancipation appeared in Germany itself during the period of mass German-Jewish immigration to this country, they were sufficient to cause fundamental modifications in the spiritual life of the German Jews. The latter were no longer able to take their Judaism for granted, they were beginning to raise basic doubts about its essence (...) The German Jews sought not a theological answer but a social one. That Jews lived in two cultures wherever they were able to establish material or spiritual contacts with their Gentile neighbors was a familiar enough fact even before the Emancipation. Emancipation, however, made them aware of the sharp conflict between the cultures. (...)

The United States in mid-nineteenth century provided an especially favorable background. (...) Economic opportunities were so unlimited that Jews did not find it necessary to sacrifice their Jewishness in the interests of economic integration. If the Jews have felt any pressure, it was not pressure, as in Germany, from the state, but rather a social pressure: from the tyranny of the majority.(...) (They asked themselves): What actually was the basis for Jewish group existence? The answer of the German Jews was: the Jews were not a people but a religious association. (...) Judaism too could not remain forever rigid, and attempts at its reformation began to appear. This immigration brought large numbers of Jews who were psychologically and culturally prepared for Reform (...) Viewed historically, Reform Judaism in the United States constituted the first organized attempt to adapt Jewish ethnicity to the American frame.

3rd immigration waves: Eastern European Jews, (1880-1930)

The Jews of eastern Europe came from countries where capitalism was just beginning to take its first steps, and in this country they encountered a capitalism that was soon to be more advanced than any in the the world. By that time, the geographical boundaries of the United States were permanently fixed, and free land was exhausted. The East European Jews concentrated in the larger industrial centers and became a huge proletariat. (...)

The Jews from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Rumania, etc., came from countries where the ghetto survived as both a physical and a cultural institution. If the first two waves of immigration were carried over from areas where conditions had a certain similarity to the situation in the United States at the time of the immigration, the third wave came from countries that bore not the slightest resemblance, materially or spiritually, economically or politically, to America. (...), the Jews from Russia and Rumania altogether lacked a transition period.

The cultural life of the Jews in mid-nineteenth-century Russia was not far different from Jewish cultural life in western Europe at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The rabbinic tradition was still the dominant culture in the Jewish Pale at that time when mass Jewish emigration to America began. But capitalist and democratic winds from the West, which had already been felt by the Tsarist regime, also blew secularist breezes into the ghetto, especially in the later years of the nineteenth century. (...) Because of poltical and long cultural isolation, the East European Jews at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries lacked the basis for gradually reforming their mode of life in a purely evolutionary way. Any step of the beaten track came into sharp conflict with both the internal and external environment and became a revolutionary act. This was particularly true in matters concerning religious and cultural tradition.

East European Jews were overwhelmingly Orthodox in religion. Those who departed from Orthodoxy moved, as a rule, in the direction not of religious reforms but of a complete break with religion. The division within the Jewish community was consequently not between conservators and reformers, but between traditionalists and radicals. And this division was equally marked from the very beginning of the East European immigration in the United States. On the one hand, this mass immigration enormously strengenthened Orthodoxy and made it the dominant religious trend of the majority of the Jewish population in this country. On the other hand, the same immigration included large numbers of Jews, who, despite their irreligiosity - and, in many cases, even atheism - nevertheless considered themselves an integral part of the Jewish community. To the old question - What are the Jews? - The East European immigration came to give a new answer: a people. The seeds of a secular Jewish nationalism were sown, with the Yiddish language playing an extraordinary part in the process.

Mögliche Themen zu Jewishness in The Assistant:
2.) Erarbeitung/Transfer: Morris Bober's Jewishness

2.1. Methodisch-didaktische Vorüberlegungen:
Das von von Frank Alpine initiierte Gespräch zwischen Morris Bober und ihm selbst ist eine zentrale Textstelle des Romans insgesamt und insbesondere für das Thema Jewishness in The Assistant. Franks konkrete und manchmal provozierende Fragen zwingen Bober, den Stellenwert der jüdischen Religion in seinem Leben zu determinieren. Bober lässt sich durch Franks Fragen jedoch nicht verunsichern, sondern vertritt mit viel Selbstsicherheit seine Position. Diese Textstelle dient demnach dazu, einen tiefen Einblick in Morris' Persönlichkeit, sein Denken und seine Einstellung dem Leben und dem Judentum gegenüber zu bekommen. Die Analyse dieses Gesprächs ist für das Verständnis des gesamten Romans von eminenter Bedeutung, da sich Morris' individuelles Verständnis auch in seinem Handeln widerspiegelt.

2.2.) Analyse des Gesprächs Morris Bober/Frank Alpine über "Jewishness" (p. 92/93) und Ansprache des Rabbis bei Morris Bobers Beerdigung (S.169)

a) Does Morris Bober comply with the general picture of an orthodox Jew?

No, Morris is not a Jew in the traditional sense because he:
- does not go to the synagogue
- does not keep his kitchen kosher
- does not wear a skull cap
- keeps his store open on Jewish holidays
- does not practise religious traditions (7-12).

b) What does being a Jew mean to Morris?

Morris's definition of Jewishness (93):
- important thing about Jewishness is the Thora= Law
("..to be a Jew all you need is a good heart", 1)
- Morris views himself as a Jew, no doubt about it ("Morris was startled!", 6)
- to follow the law means "to do what is right, to be honest!" (21-22) --> being a Jew means more than being religious to Morris, it is his way of life/ his perception of life/ integral part of his existence
--> to him being Morris Bober equals being a Jew
- being a Jew equals being a good man (37-38)

- suffering is part of being Jewish ("If you live you suffer...But I think if a Jew don't suffer for the Law, he will suffer for nothing.", 30-31)

c) What does the rabbi think of Morris as a Jew? (169)

rabbi's evaluation of Morris as a Jew at his funeral:

- believes him to have been a "true Jew" insofar as he "lived in the Jewish experience" and had a "Jewish heart"
- exception: does not follow "formal traditions"
- "... but he was true to the spirit of our life - to want for others that which he wants also for himself."

(siehe dazu auch: Peter Freese, The Assistant. Teacher's Book: (7)

...this again is a statement which, with equal justice, could be made about a good Christian. Thus it is clear that Morris' Jewishness is less the expression of a specific religious position than of a general humanism, and his concern for others, for example, can be undeerstood in the context of Christian caritas as well as in that of Jewish rachmones. )

(d) What is Frank's reaction to Morris's view (93)?
- reacts with disbelief, is critical, provocative, almost insolent:
"Don't get sore about this. But I can give you an argument that you aren't. First thing (7f), ....You don't even (9)...But all those things are the Law, aren't they? (16)...I think other religions have those ideas too (25)...But tell my why it is that the Jews suffer so damn much, Morris. (25f)"

3. Vergleich der drei jüdischen Familien Bober, Karp, Pearl in Bezug auf Jewishness

3.1. Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen

Der Vergleich der drei jüdischen Familien, die in The Assistantvorkommen, macht deutlich, wie unterschiedlich diese mit ihrer Jewishness umgehen. Die Beziehung zwischen materiellem Erfolg und moralischem/spirituellem Misserfolg soll dabei deutlich werden. Morris Bobers moralisch-ethisch korrekter Lebenswandel und damit für ihn auch praktizierter Glaube, scheint unweigerlich zu finanziellen Misserfolg zu führen, wohingegen das moralisch und in religiöser Hinsicht zweifelhafte Verhalten der Karps und Pearls zu finanziellem Erfolg führt. Die SchülerInnen sollen erkennen, dass der Umgang mit der Jewishness und den daraus folgenden Konsequenzen bei Morris und Karp bzw. Pearl diametral entgegensetzt ist (reversal of the situation.)
Es bietet sich an, diese Unterrichtseinheit in Gruppenarbeit durchzuführen, wobei sich eine Gruppe nur mit Morris Bober und die andere Gruppe mit den Karps und Pearls beschäftigt.

3.2. Leitfragen:

a) What attitude do the respective families have towards their own Jewishness?
How does Julius Karp compare to Morris's concept of the Jewish law?
b) How does this attitude influence their lives?

Morris Bober

JEWISHNESS
lives according to his view of the Jewish law: "to do what is right, to be honest, to be good." (93/21f)

RESULT
1) former partner cheated on him (151/ 3f)
2) could not provide Helen with/offer Helen a college education (13/ 21, 19/13f)
3) his wife is disappointed in him and life, is always criticizing something, turned bitter (8/17, 8/28-35, 17/21-24, 38/28, 43/15, 43/20)
4) does not feel comfortable himself, he feels closed in (6/9, 7/6, 28/29)
--->dissatisfied in life, "had hoped for much in America and got little" (24/4)
= moral/spiritual success +economic failure

Julius KarpSam and Nat Pearl
JEWISHNESS
deny their Jewish upbringing, do not follow the formal traditions
--> Their Jewishness plays no important role in their lives
RESULT
1) flourishing liquour store
2) new house in new and good neighborhood
3) disloyal to other Jews
1) does well financially; former taxi driver, now owner of candy shop (14, l.15-20)
2) makes money betting race horses (14, 22)
3) is able to give his son a university education (13, l20f.; 14, l.22f)
=moral/spiritual failure +economic success
(Reversal of Morris Bober's situation)

Einige Textstellen, die man anführen könnte, um zu belegen, dass Morris Bober nach "seinem individuellen" Jewish law lebt:

- gets up very early in the morning to serve one customer who only wants to buy one role, unprofitable ("Morris Bober dragged the heavy boxes to the door, panting...sour-faced, grey-haired Poilishesh huddled there, who wanted one.", 5/4f)
- is completely honest ("he labored long hours, was the soul of honesty - he could not escape his honesty, it was bedrock; to cheat would cause an explosion in him.", 16/14f)
- is compassionate, feels for Frank Alpine when he tells him the story of his life ("The poor grocer was moved. Poor boy", 31/1)
- after Morris finds out that Frank hid in his cellar and stole from him, he is still kind to him, does not accuse Frank ("Did you steal from me my milk and rolls?... Why didn't you ask? (41/28ff ... How can you sleep in such a cold and drafty cellar?... Are you hungry?... Come upstairs!", 42/10-14)
- cannot stand to be dishonest to Podolsky, who is interested in buying his shop, - admits that the store is run down ("Morris, unable to stand the planned dishonesty...told him earnestly that the store was run down..., 149/37ff)
- Although Morris strongly dislikes Karp (e.g. 149/23f), he treats Karp for tea when Karp feels low ("Karp seemed embarrassed, ill. The grocer, his shame awakened, invited him into the back for tea", 161/23f)

Eine komplette Liste aller Textstellen, die theoretisch angeführt werden könnten, um Karps Charakter und dessen Umgang mit Jewishness zu verifizieren:

- got a license for a liquor store through morally questionable means ("...got the license, though Karp, when asked how, winked a heavy-lidded eye and answered nothing.", 16/4f)
- moved into a big house in a good neighborhood ("from the meager railroad flat above the store to a big house on the Parkway", 16/8f)
- "short, pompous, a natty dresser" (20/9f)
- from shoe shop owner to liquor shop owner--> pays off financially ("stayed all day in silk pyjamas", "since his success with wines and liquors") (20/11,16)
"insensitive and a blunderer" (20/12)
- disloyal to fellow Jews ("had rented the tailor shop to another grocer") but asks favours of other Jews (20/1f)
- gives "unwanted advice" (20/18, 113/3f, 149/19)
- generally has "good luck" (20/23, 151/23f)
- "for Karp it was miraculously not so hard, but what was there to envy?" (21/8f)
- "while in bed during his last convalescence he had thought much of Karp-unwilling nad distasteful thinking - and had discovered he disliked him more than he had imagined...Though this was not Karp's fault, it was that a delicatessen had moved in across the street to make a poor man poorer. Nor could the grocer forgive him the blow he had taken on the head in his place, who could in health and wealth better afford it." (111/18-26)
- Karp does not identify with being Jewish, talks of Morris as a Jew as if he was not a Jew himself "... meanwhile pitying the poor Jew his hard luck life - in capital letters." (111/32f)
- "Whereas Karp in whatever he touched now coined pure gold, if Morris Bober found a rotten egg in the street ..." (111/33f)
- Karp must be disappointed in life in some way, must be envious of something in Morris' personality, for he wants Morris to respect him "for some reason that was not clear to him Karp liked Morris to like him..." (112/6)
--->wants his son to marry Morris' daughter Helen (113/13f)
- disapproves of relationships between Jews and Non-Jews, thinks himself to be superior to Morris ("for it was dangerous to have a young goy around where there was a Jewish girl. This worked out by an unchangeable law that Karp would gladly have explained to Morris had they been speaking ...") (113/3ff)
- has confidence in his good business skills, has no wish to help Morris improve his situation but wants to take over his business instead--> no "good heart"! ("Karp would take over Morris's gesheft. He would renovate and enlarge it into a self-service market with the latest fixtures and goods."(113/21ff)
- thinks in more progressive terms ("You are maybe advertising in the paper?" (114/29f)
- tries to take advantage of the fact that Frank betrays Morris ("I got a proposition for you about your gesheft. Throw out first on his ass this Italyener that he fooled you, then tell Helen that my Louis ..." (117/1ff)
- cold-hearted,does not show any compassion toward the Bobers who are forced to sell their shop ("But how could I recommend him a store like yours?" (148/39)
"The next afternoon Karp came into Morris's and speaking as if they were the happiest of friends ..." (149/18f)
- does not, as a friend, want to help Morris to cope with his difficult situation but simply wants to make a good business deal with him ("Morris I want to buy your house. Also the store." (161/26f)

4. The importance of education to the Bober family

4.1. Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen

Die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Stellenwert von Bildung in der Familie Bober wirft Licht auf die traditionell große Wertschätzung der Bildung in der jüdischen Kultur. Als Hintergrundinformation sollen die SchülerInnen dazu die zwei kurzen Textauszüge aus dem Teacher's Book (Leo Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish, pp. 523f, hier: p.75/76; Harry Golden, The Greatest Jewish City in the World, p.78, hier: 76, siehe Anlage 3) lesen (zwei SchülerInnen sollten jeweils einen der kurzen Texte laut vorlesen) und mündlich kurz das darin beschriebene jüdische Verständnis von Bildung skizzieren.
Hierbei soll deutlich werden, dass die jüdische Gesellschaft Bildung nicht nur als Wissenserwerb begreift, sondern auch als Weg, um im nicht-religiösen sowie im religiösen Sinne ein "besserer Mensch" zu werden und sich dabei Gott zu nähern. Falls der/die LehrerIn diesen Unterrichtsabschnitt straffen möchte, kann man die kurze Analyse der beiden Texte auch ausklammern, da die sich anschließende Aufgabe auch ohne dieses Vorwissen zu bewerkstelligen ist.
Wenn man zunächst Morris, dann Helens und zuletzt Idas Einschätzung von Bildung vergleicht, stellt man fest, dass die noch "edlen Ziele" Morris' zu rein funktional ausgerichteten Zielen bei Ida degenerieren. Es wird demnach deutlich, dass Morris, auch wenn er viele religiöse Vorschriften des Judentum nicht einhält, doch die jüdischen Traditionen internalisiert hat und danach lebt oder zumindest leben möchte, während diese jüdische Lebensweise schon innerhalb seiner eigenen Familie verlorengegangen ist.

1.) What is the Jewish view of education according to these two texts?

2.) Describe the view of education of the respective members of the Bober family!
(Unter Angabe der relevanten Textstellen sollen Informationen zusammengetragen werden, um sie dann in einem Schaubild an der Tafel festzuhalten)

Morris

- was ambitious when he first came to the USA, went to night school to become a druggist, a poem he remembers runs (64/33-66):
"Without education you are lost" (64/37)-->values education highly
- "Because he was ashamed of his meager education Morris was never comfortable with such questions, yet he felt he must answer." (92/38f)
- suffers from not being able to provide Helen with a college education ("... he did, with renewed shame. 'What did I ever give you? Even your colleege education I took away." (19/13f)
- considers learning important at every stage in life ("Aren't you always saying a person's never too old to go to school" 19/17)
-->education in itself is already valuable!

Helen

- feels inferior to Nat, unworthy of his love because she, unlike him, has no college education as he has ("...how little he (Nat) wanted. Not her, Helen Bober. Why should he? magna cum laude, Columbia, now in his second year at law school, she only a high school graduate with a year's evening college" 13/19-21), avoids old friends who go to college-->feels inferior to them (35/21f)
- is impressed with Nat because as a college graduate he has "first-rate prospects" (13/22)
- has always been and still is determined to get a college education, is willing to make sacrifices for it (10,5f, 14/11f)
- wants education as a means to a better life (" I want a larger and better life. I want the return of my possibilities... 'Education', she said, 'prospects. Things I've wanted but never had." 36/8-11)
- wants education as a way to become a "better person", to lead a "worthwhile" and meaningful life (36/23-25)
- is convinced that a college education for Frank is the only way to turn him into a "man of possibilities" (77/27)
-->believes in the power of education as a means to become a "better person" and to social advancement

Ida

- equals a college education with doing well financially and having social prestige ("Don't make it worse and spoil your whole life, with a poor man...Marry somebody who can give you a better life, a nice professional boy with a college education...I know what I'm talking about. Believe me, I know." 109/19-22)
- desperately wants Frank to go away/leave Helen alone because he does not meet her high expectations (60/17f, 61/39f, 110/11f)
--> values education merely as a way to financial success and a better social position

conclusion: gradual degeneration of the value of education!

5. Morris Bober as a "schlimozel"

5.1 Didaktisch-methodische Vorüberlegungen

Die Figur eines Shlimozels hat eine lange Tradition innerhalb der jüdischen Volksgeschichten. Daher reiht sich Malamud mit Morris Bober als einem Shlimozel in diese Tradition ein. Diese jüdische Tradition soll aber nicht näher besprochen werden, sondern lediglich als kurze Hintergrundinformation sowie als Einstieg in das Thema dienen.
Anschließend soll anhand von Beispielen nachgewiesen werden, inwiefern auch Morris Bober nach der Definition eines Shlimozels nach Leo Rosten (Bernard Malamud, "The Assistant: Teacher's Book. Interpretations and Suggestions for Teaching by Peter Freese, p. 261f) als Shlimozelbezeichnet werden kann. Diese Aufgabe ist auch geeignet, um zu zeigen, inwieweit in Morris Bober als dem Shlimozel seine Jewishness und zugleich seine Vorstellung vom American Dream bzw. dem Scheitern des American Dream deutlich wird. Die Auseinandersetzung mit Morris als Shlimozel kann daher als Ansatzpunkt zur detaillierten Analyse im weiteren Verlauf der Unterrichtsreihe dienen.

5.2. Aufgabe

a) Read through Leo Rosten's definition of a "shlemiel/shlimazl" !
b) Morris Bober is called a "shlimozel" by other characters in the novel (112/9) In which way, according to Roston's definition, can Morris Bober be considered a "shlimozel"?

SHLEMIEL, SCHLEMIEL, SHLEMIEHL, SHLEMIHL

1. A foolish person; a simpleton. "He has the brains of a shlemiel."
2. A consistently unlucky or unfortunate person; a "fall guy"; a hardluck type; a born loser, a submissive and uncomplaining victim. "That poor shlemiel always gets the short end of the stick". A Yiddish proverb goes: "The shlemiel falls on his back and breaks his nose."
3. A clumsy, butterfingered, all-thumbs, gauche type. "Why does a shlemiel like that ever try to fix anything?"
4. A social misfit, congenitally maladjusted. "Don't invite that shlemiel to the party."
5. A pipsqueak, a Caspar Milquetoast. "He throws as much weight as a shlemiel." "No one pays attention to that shlemiel."
6. A naive, trusting, gullible customer. This usage is common among furniture dealers, especially those who sell the guady, gimcrack stuff called "borax".
7. Anyone who makes a foolish bargain, or wagers a foolish bet. This usage is wide in Europe; it probably comes from Chamisso's tale Peter Schlemihls Wunderbare Geschichte, a fable in which the protagonist sold his shadow and, like Faust, sold his soul to Satan.

SHLIMAZL; SCHLIMAZEL

A chronically unlucky person; someone for whom nothing seems to go right or turn out well; a born "loser". Let me illustrate by combining four folk sayings: "When a shlimazl winds a clock, it stops; when he kills a chicken, it walks, when he sells umbrellas, the sun comes out; when he manufactures shrouds, people stop dying."

Morris as a "Shlimozel"

- Morris is always striving for financial success and personal happiness but never succeeds because he has a good heart/lives according to "his" Jewish law
- Helen on her father at his funeral:
- Morris was too trusting, too honest to "exist in this world" (169/14)
- believed in the good in every person (169/16f)
- "sweet nature" and "understanding" were his strengths, but his strengths also turned out to be his weakness (169/19f)
- was loser in the sense that "he made himself a victim" (169/23)
- "felt sick of himself, of soured expectations, endless frustration, the years gone up in smoke...He had hoped for much in America and got little." (24/4f)
- The people he trusted and respected (e.g. Karp, his business partner) didn't treat him with the same trust and respect in return
- Morris identifies with suffering, is part of his being/of his Jewish being (93/28-33)
- "the harder he worked...the less he seemed to have" (26/16f)
- is "chronically" unlucky, destined to lose "pitying the poor Jew his hard luck life ... if Morris Bober found a rotten egg in the street, it was already cracked and leaking" (111/3-35)

6. Frank's process of becoming a Jew (in bezug auf Vorurteile)
(siehe dazu die Ausführungen
Gesine Josts)

IV) Anhang

1.) Liste aller relevanten Stellen zu Jewishness und American Dream in dem Teacher's Book von Peter Freese, die weitere Ansatzpunkte bzw. Hilfestellung bei der Unterrichtsvorbereitung liefern bzw. geben können:

S. 36-38, Being Jewish as an ethnic predicament.
S. 40-44, The Malamud Heroes and the American Dream.
S. 76f, The importance of education in Jewish thinking.
S. 87f, Jewish Sabbath.
S. 91-96, Yiddish Language.
S. 145-47, Jewish demography in New York.
S. 154f, Central metaphor of Jewishness.
S. 162-164, The implied contrast America - Russia.
S. 206-209, Jewish-Christian intermarriage.
S. 222-224, The historical background of the American Dream.
S. 230-234, Frank and the Jews.
S. 236, Cartoon zu (Russian) immigration in the USA (empfehlenswert!)
S. 243, Frank and the American Dream.
S. 245f, Frank's conversion.
S. 250f, Morris - a Russian Jew.
S. 252f, Morris' lost American Dream.
S. 254ff, The importance of male children in the Jewish tradition.
S. 257-265, Morris as a "Shlimozel".
S. 265-272, Connection between Morris Bober and Martin Buber.
S. 274-277, Morris Bober and the American Dream.
S. 280-282, Helen's Jewishness.
S.282-285, Helen's ideal and her belief in education.
S. 289, Helen's projection of the American Dream onto Frank.
S. 296, Helen's American Dream.

2.) Weiterführende Lektüre zu Jews in the USA/ Jewish Immigration waves (können dem/der LehrerIn als weitere Informationsquelle dienen):

Baumann, Arnulf H. (Hrsg.): Was jeder vom Judentum wissen sollte. Gütersloh 1983.

Baron, Salo W.: The Russian Jew/Under Tsar and Soviet. New York 1984.

Elbogen, Ismar: Ein Jahrhundert jüdischen Lebens. Die Geschichte des neuzeitlichen Judentums. Frankfurt 1967, S.347-375.

Hempel, Henri Jacob (Hrsg.): Wenn ich schon ein Fremder sein muss. Frankfurt/Main 1984.

Glazer, Nathan: American Judaism. Chicago 1989 (2nd edition).

Kramer, Judith and Leventman Seymour: Children of the Gilded Ghetto/ Conflict Resolutions of the Three Genarations of American Jews. London 1961, p. 1-61.

Malin, Irving: Jews and Americans. Carbondale and Edwarsville, 1965, p. 8-12, 51-53, 76-82,135-138, 175-177.

Nowak, Hans und Edith: Es War Einmal/Leben und Schicksal des Osteuropäischen Judentums. Köln 1960, S. 19-54.

Sherman, Bezalel: The Jew within American Society (Detroit 1961), pp. 57-83.

Sklare, Marshall: The Jews/Social Patterns of an American Group. Glencoe/Illinois 1960.

Spiller, Robert E./John Larrabbee (eds.): American Perspectives/The National Self-Image in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge 1961), pp. 4-14.

Wynrb, Bernard D.: "Jewish Immigration and Accommodation to America", in: The Jews. Social Patterns of an American Group, ed. Marshall Sklare (Illinois, 1960), pp. 4-22.

V. Anmerkungen

  1. Peter Freese (ed.), Bernard Malamud. The Assistant/Students´ Book. Paderborn, München, Wien, Zürich: Schöningh, 1982. [Texts for English and American Studies 10]
  2. Brian Tracy; Erwin Helms (eds.), American Dreams /American Nightmares (Paderborn: Schöningh 1981), p. 56. [Texts for English and American Studies 11]
  3. Karl Walter Keppler, Arno Paland, Manfred Pulm, Norbert Timm (Hrsg.), Learning English. Skyline. Edition C/Lese- und Arbeitsbuch für die Sekundarstufe II (Stuttgart: Klett, 1989), p. 236.
  4. Thomas L. Purris (ed.), "Jews", in: The Dictionary of American History (Cambridge/Mass., 1995), p. 198f.
  5. C. Bezalel Sherman, The Jews within American Society/A Study in Ethnic Individuality (Detroit, 1961), pp. 56-59.
  6. Ibid., pp. 59-74
  7. Peter Freese (ed.), Bernard Malamud. The Assistant/Teacher´s Book (Paderborn-München-Wien-Zürich: Schöningh, 1983), p. 266. [Texts for English and American Studies 10]

VI) Literaturverzeichnis

Freese, Peter (ed.): Bernard Malamud. The Assistant/Students' Book. Paderborn-München-Wien-Zürich: Schöningh, 1982. [Texts for English and American Studies 10]

Freese, Peter: Bernard Malamud. The Assistant/Teacher's Book. Paderborn-München-Wien-Zürich: Schöningh, 1983. [Texts for English and American Studies 10]

Keppler, Karl-Walter, Arno Paland, Manfred Pulm, Norbert Timm (Hrsg.): Learning English. Skyline. Edition C/Lese- und Arbeitsbuch für die Sekundarstufe II. Stuttgart: Klett, 1989.

Purris, Thomas L. (ed.): "Jews", in: The Dictionary of American History (Cambridge, Mass., 1995), p. 198f.

Sherman, C. Bezalel: The Jews within American Society/A Study in Ethnic Individuality. Detroit 1961.

Tracy, Brian, Erwin Holms (eds.): American Dreams/American Nightmares. Paderborn. Schöningh, 1981. [Texts for English and American Studies 11]


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