Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2016

Publication Title

Journal of Modern Literature

Abstract

Scholars have suggested that William Styron’s Nathan in Sophie’s Choice is insane or depraved—a character whose motivations lack rationality at best and are unambiguously evil at worst. Elie Wiesel, the author of the famous Holocaust memoir Night, has been very critical of Styron’s novel. Ironically, by using the Yiddish version of Wiesel’s memoir Night, it is possible to demonstrate that Nathan’s behavior is more “logical” than scholars have previously understood. This approach offers us a new way of reading and interpreting Styron’s novel by clarifying how Nathan’s character functions within a well-established tradition of sociopolitical outrage about racial oppression, which is best exemplified in James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, a text that Styron strategically references in Sophie’s Choice.

Volume

39

Issue

4

First Page

85

Last Page

103

DOI

10.2979/jmodelite.39.4.07

ISSN

0022-281X

Comments

This article was published as:

Michael Lackey. “The Scandal of Jewish Rage in William Styron's Sophie's Choice.” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 39, no. 4, 2016, pp. 85–103.

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Rights

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