Chapter 15 Messiah

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Aug 9, 2007, 1:36:54 PM8/9/07
to Readers Anonymous
A phrase that I will try, at best, to paraphrase from 'A Tree Grows In
Brooklyn' describes the pregnant Jewish mothers sunning their bellies,
proud that they could be bringing the Messiah into the world. This
book is, at once interesting with the alternate future spin yet it
makes it difficult to know what is the bedrock of the book and where
my embarrassingly small knowledge of Judaism begins. They make
mention of their being a Messiah in every generation, perhaps not
'the' Messiah but a second Elijah, does anybody know if this is book
or truth?

Also, what does everybody make of them using the phrase "speaking
American" rather than English? It is most likely due to the immediacy
of their relationship with the US, but also a nice touch...

Aug 12, 2007, 4:42:24 PM8/12/07
to Readers Anonymous
Unfortunately, I can't answer the Jewish authenticity question. That
part of the novel has been really interesting to me too. I grew up in
a Presbyterian family. I even have some Calvinists in the gene pool.
Some were more liberal, believing more in "predetermination" than
"predistination." Not kidding.

So to me, the idea that god plants an Elijah/potentially a messiah in
each generation, and that people have to deserve his success, or that
he can just become a regular screw-up, is fascinating. I think it
really runs contrary to Christian culture in the U.S.

I like the "speak American" thing as well. My thought is that since
Judaism is a culture and/or religion with a language, the characters
view the languages as iterations of cultures. I think that also comes
to play in when and how they choose to "speak American." Profanity is
better expressed through the culture of American English than through
Yiddish. While I don't ascribe to the "language is culture" school of
thinking, I do think the two are more than related. I like the
characters' choices to break into "American" to express profanities.

Aug 17, 2007, 10:58:54 AM8/17/07
to Readers Anonymous
i have heard from a couple of kids who've been living in the states
for school that "american" is very different from the "english" they
learned in school. we use so much slang and are very lax in our
structure. plus, the whole accent issue. i have been tempted to say
that what i speak is "american" as opposed to "english" - but this
brings up a Barber College debate that i find rather fascinating and
on-going. :o)

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