The Marginalization of the Palestinian in Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock: A Postcolonial Study
Keywords:Subaltern, silencing, Palestinian, Jews, victimization, conflict
This paper approaches Philip Roth’s semi-autobiographical novel Operation Shylock (1993), an appropriation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, from a postcolonial angle attempting to find an answer to Spivak’s question: Can the Subaltern Speak? It focuses on how Philip Roth silences the Palestinian “Other” in his narrative telling the story of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from a Zionist perspective. More interestingly, the study explains how Israelis interpret the reasons behind their victimization of the Palestinian using the argument that they were already victims of the Holocaust and a long traumatic past struggling to maintain social self-esteem and a tolerant acceptance in the world. Furthermore, it exposes the ways Philip Roth depicted the state of mind of Jewish characters in the novel and the effect of war trauma on their treatment of the “Other”. Then, the study provides a critical reading of how Philip Roth legitimizes the victimization of the Palestinian neglecting his existence using Edward Said’s Orientalism.
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