Agents of Anxiety and Disintegration: The Double Motif in the Jewish-American Discourse

By: Munir Mohamed Al-Aghberi

Abstract: Examining the Jewish-American novel written in the postwar era, the present paper attempts to understand the relationship between the writers’ recurrent use of the theme of the double and the psychological problematics to which the protagonists are always prone. It contextualizes the over-repeated tension between primary ego and alter ego within the postwar anxiety of Jews trying to prefigure the possibilities of history on
the one hand, and to construct identity in the midst of lurking anti-Semitic perils on the other. For the Jewish-American novelist’s part, representing such a psychological aspect of the Jewish dilemma can never be read out of his/her hyphenated standpoint and, thus, strategies of survival where delusions of persecution keep the identity’s guard on by projecting the protagonist’s fears in the form of a doppelganger.