Culture is not universal spirit inside of us. It has history, belongs to future and past, and it’s changing gradually. Roth demonstrates the lives of Jewish as an ethnic group in American society. As an ethnic group Jews come to America and they face the dilemma either embracing ethnic tradition, which is detach from American identity or assimilating into the gentile world. As Alex excerpt, “Doctor, what should I rid myself of, tell me, the hatred… or the love?” (27). Roth’s emotions striking every moment about his culture he growing up and keep pushing into the confusion world gradually. His intelligence performance in school and anti-Semitic...
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...T’S PUT THE ID BACK IN YID!” (124). Portney cannot reject his traditional culture, as opposed to, his desire to assimilate into the gentile world. This vice versa identity imputed him into the third position of culture, that he cannot even realize and that’s the reason of his complaint.
Even “Portney’s complaint” portrays with Jewish joke and stereotype, but Roth established a big contribution for the minority to being member in dominant culture or into the gentile world. His big effort to give a massage to the minority that how its feel to being into the third position of culture and inspiring them, who are experiencing this situation to feel proud with this struggle and being succeeded into the world. This crisis of identity will bring happiness if you are not hopeless, that’s why Roth’s complaint is an exhibition for the member of the third position of culture.
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