Zuckerman the Unreliable 12th Grade
American Pastoral is narrated by Philip Roth’s Nathan Zuckerman, a friend and admirer of the Levovs, in particular of Seymour “The Swede” Levov. Zuckerman tells the story of The Swede’s tragic fall from youthful perfection due to his daughter’s act of terrorism in protest of the Vietnam War. However, if Zuckerman is truly a friend and peer of the Swede, Zuckerman's seemingly omniscient knowledge of the Swede's private affairs and liaisons proves that Zuckerman simply made up much of the Swede’s exciting life.
From an early age, Zuckerman is infatuated with the perfection of the Swede and his embodiment of the American Dream. When the Swede calls Zuckerman “Skip,” Zuckerman tells the reader, “I was thrilled. I blushed, I was thrilled,” which clearly denotes how emotionally charged Zuckerman was after being given a fairly innocent and common nickname. However, the tricolon of terse first-person verbs and the repetition of “I was thrilled,” emphasizes that this was a very personal moment for Zuckerman and that the “secret, personal link” they apparently shared had an immediate, deep effect. This obsession and hyperbolic reaction to an ordinary scene suggests that Zuckerman is blindly infatuated with the Swede, a fact which might...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 766 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5099 literature essays, 1553 sample college application essays, 195 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in