Jewish Identity in The Mandlebaum Gate Essay

Jewish Identity in The Mandlebaum Gate Essay

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Explore conflicting accounts of Jewish Identity in The Mandlebaum
Gate.

The Mandlebaum Gate is a novel by Muriel Spark set in the territories
of Jerusalem and Jordan during the Eichmann Trials. Within the novel
there is a character "Barbara Vaughan" who is a Gentile Jewess. She
travels within Israel and Jordan on a pilgrimage to see the holy
shrines and has various adventures and encounters during her trip. It
is clear from the first few pages of the novel that Jewish identity is
a key theme and continues to be as such throughout.

The first chapter "Freddy's Walk" immediately helps to set the scene
as we see him travelling through the "amazing alleys of the Orthodox
Quarter of Israel's Jerusalem"[1] During this chapter Freddy collides
with a small boy whose mother immediately reacts by scolding the
child, "evidently trying to impress upon him the undesirable nature of
Freddy". Freddy believes that the mother reacts in this way because
she presumes him to be "a modern Jew, one of the regular Israelis of
whom this sect disapproved perhaps more heavily than they did of the
honest unclean foreigner"[2] Freddy goes on to consider "Why couldn't
people be moderate?"[3] in the way they behave towards one another and
accept differences rather than persecuting against them. This
immediately illustrates the attitudes that a Jew could encounter at
this stage in Israel due to lack of public acceptance and conflict
within the territory. A little later in this chapter Freddy meets with
Barbara Vaughan and they discuss the beliefs of Jews, Freddy states
"Most of the Jews here are unbelievers as far as I can gather" to
which Barbara curtly replies, "being a Jew isn't something they
consider in their minds, weigh up an...


... middle of paper ...


...y", "The Mandlebaum Gate"
(Penguin 1967) Pg43

[30] Muriel Spark, "Barbara Vaughan's Identity", "The Mandlebaum Gate"
(Penguin 1967) Pg38

[31] Muriel Spark, "Barbara Vaughan's Identity", "The Mandlebaum Gate"
(Penguin 1967) Pg49

[32] Muriel Spark, "A Delightful English Atmosphere", "The Mandlebaum
Gate" (Penguin 1967) Pg68

[33] Muriel Spark, "A Delightful English Atmosphere", "The Mandlebaum
Gate" (Penguin 1967) Pg68

[34] Muriel Spark, "Abdul's Orange Groves", "The Mandlebaum Gate"
(Penguin 1967) Pg101

[35] Muriel Spark, "Abdul's Orange Groves", "The Mandlebaum Gate"
(Penguin 1967) Pg101

[36] Bryan Cheyette, "Muriel Spark, Writers & Their Work",
"Transfigurations" (Northcote House 2000) Pg66

[37] Judith Butler, "The Norton Anthology, Theory and Criticism"
"Gender Trouble" (Norton 2001) Pg2485

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