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Title page for ETD etd-07182014-154416


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Shults, Raina Leah
Author's Email Address rainashults@yahoo.com
URN etd-07182014-154416
Title In his mother’s image: a Lacanian analysis of second generation sons in the short stories of J. J. Steinfeld and Lev Raphael
Degree Master of Arts
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Adam Meyer Committee Member
Dr. Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman Committee Member
Keywords
  • Holocaust
  • J. J. Steinfeld
  • Lev Raphael. Lacan
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Second generation
Date of Defense 2014-07-18
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The short stories of J. J. Steinfeld and Lev Raphael reveal Second Generation sons’ strong identification with their mothers and their Holocaust experiences. While the mother-son relationships depicted in J. J. Steinfeld’s stories are exaggerated and verge on surrealism, Lev Raphael’s depiction of this relationship is more complex and realistic. The reason for this difference in storytelling lies in each author’s emphasis. J. J. Steinfeld strives to emphasize the emotional and psychological trauma that the Holocaust wracks on the lives of Second Generation sons, whereas Lev Raphael’s stories illustrate the complexity of the Holocaust’s effect on the psychological development of the Second Generation. Additionally, Lev Raphael’s stories also often explore the difficulties of being gay and Jewish for Second Generation sons and what role their mother plays in their development. Characters in the stories of both authors fluctuate between Lacan’s Imaginary and Symbolic Orders. Each of Steinfeld’s characters backtrack through Lacan’s stages of psychological development: they each experience a second “mirror stage,” which thrusts them from the Symbolic Order back into the Imaginary Order. Although Lev Raphael’s characters fluctuate between Lacan’s orders, there is not an extreme regression into the Imaginary Order. Instead of manifesting a complete loss of self as a result of their mothers’ Holocaust experiences, these characters identify with their mother’s while retaining their own identity and often function as strong examples of gay, Jewish men in a post-Holocaust world.

RELIGION

In His Mother’s Image: A Lacanian Analysis of Second Generation Sons in the Short Stories of J. J. Steinfeld and Lev Raphael

Raina L. Shults

Thesis under the direction of Professor Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman

The short stories of J. J. Steinfeld and Lev Raphael reveal Second Generation sons’ strong identification with their mothers and their Holocaust experiences. While the mother-son relationships depicted in J. J. Steinfeld’s stories are exaggerated and verge on surrealism, Lev Raphael’s depiction of this relationship is more complex and realistic. The reason for this difference in storytelling lies in each author’s emphasis. J. J. Steinfeld strives to emphasize the emotional and psychological trauma that the Holocaust wracks on the lives of Second Generation sons, whereas Lev Raphael’s stories illustrate the complexity of the Holocaust’s effect on the psychological development of the Second Generation. Additionally, Lev Raphael’s stories also often explore the difficulties of being gay and Jewish for Second Generation sons and what role their mother plays in their development. Characters in the stories of both authors fluctuate between Lacan’s Imaginary and Symbolic Orders. Each of Steinfeld’s characters backtrack through Lacan’s stages of psychological development: they each experience a second “mirror stage,” which thrusts them from the Symbolic Order back into the Imaginary Order. Although Lev Raphael’s characters fluctuate between Lacan’s orders, there is not an extreme regression into the Imaginary Order. Instead of manifesting a complete loss of self as a result of their mothers’ Holocaust experiences, these characters identify with their mother’s while retaining their own identity and often function as strong examples of gay, Jewish men in a post-Holocaust world.

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