Confused Identity: Moses Herzog's Telling of His Own Story
While Moses Herzog sits in the Chicago police station after he has crashed his rental car, the narrator of Saul Bellow's work exclaims angrily, "See Moses? We don't know one another" (299). This is the lone moment in the book where the narrator explicitly suggests some separation between himself and Herzog. Much of the rest of the novel provides an unclear division between the narrator and the main character. I would argue that this unclear division occurs because these two figures, the narrator and Herzog, are in fact the same person. There are small logistical hints in the text that this is true. But these small elements of the text exist alongside much larger similarities between Herzog, and the narrator. In the largest sense, the uncertainty, the subjectivity that the narrator evinces in telling Herzog's story shows just how similar he is to the character he is describing. In the end even the quote that began this paper, the remark that ostensibly creates the strongest division between the narrator and Herzog, is evidence that these two figures are really the same - that Herzog is really narrating his own story.
The most visible element of the book that suggests some conflation of the narrator and...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 802 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5889 literature essays, 1672 sample college application essays, 229 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