High Holy Days, by Jane Shore Essay

High Holy Days, by Jane Shore Essay

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In “High Holy Days” by Jane Shore the idea of innocent youth awakening from a slumber for the first time is conveyed at a rate of infinite constancy from beginning to end. At the poem opens the tone of the speaker is childish and picayune. Throughout the eloquent stanzas filled with reminisces of the speaker, the tone becomes passionate and valiant. The writer, Jane Shore, awakens the speaker to her reality as a Jewish woman living in a world that does not condone her religion.

As the poem begins it is seemingly unimportant and petty. A child complains of her wool winter suit that was “a size too large” (2) and sits in competent silence knowing the High Holy Days are a part of tradition that she must sit through and endure with patience though she feels she could probably perforate a hole in the “borrowed prayershawl” or the “black yarmulke” she observes with boredom. Noticing the scrolls of the Torah and the impact they seem to have on the observant girl, the writer emphasizes just how sacred the religion is to the culture of people whom participate in the High Holy Days.

The power held by the torah interests the speaker for the first time, suddenly she begins to question them "I wondered could the ancient kings have been so small, and still have vanquished our enemies?" (18,19,20) uncovering her religious beliefs in God and the actions taken by God to protect his children. These sacred pieces light the flame into the speaker’s passion for her religion in many ways. She begins to pay more attention and really contemplate why she is on earth? What is she here to do in life?

The speaker continues to take in her surroundings and observe those around her while beginning to think about the prejudices within the w...


... middle of paper ...


... face her. She now knows that just as the blood fell “one drop at a time” (50) she will have to face life, one step at a time with utter resilience to the prejudice that will come into her life. The mundane life outside the church illuminates the experience the speaker has just had.

Jane Shore builds the tension of the poem from beginning to end with descriptive figurative language such as metaphors and symbols of great significance. The reader is able to gain a sense of contrast from the vivid imagery of the torah and the plain clothing described by the speaker. She appeals to the readers’ general senses through her writing technique, bringing to life emotions that are hard to put into words. As the biblical references attain much of the poem the idea of significant determination to rise up and stand for yourself and your religion is acknowledged.





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