The Slave Background

The Slave Background

The Slave was a novel written by Polish author Isaac Bashevis Singer and was published in 1962. Singer was born in 1902 and died in 1991. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature sixteen years after the novel was published.

The Slave talks about a Jewish man, called Jacob, who lived in a small village called Josefov in Poland. The village witnessed a massacre where most Jews were decimated, including Jacob's wife and children. The massacre was done by the Cossacks. Jacob, a very religious person, managed to escape but was later caught and enslaved by a Polish non-Jewish person. Jacob falls in deep love with his master's daughter, called Wanda. Later, Jacob gets ransomed but realises his extreme love for Wanda and decides to return to Wanda and marry her. They live in a village where Jacob asks his wife to be named Sarah and pretend to be deaf because she was not a Jew and he didn't want anyone to know or else he could be killed. Wanda later dies while bearing her first child, and Jacob dies after a while when he visits her grave.

Singer brilliantly wrote the story with clear emphasis on the religious dilemma Jacob is facing. Being a Jew, Jacob knew the dangers of it but stuck to his beliefs. In addition to that, although he is fully aware of the danger he put himself into when he married Wanda (because she was not Jewish), but despite all of that, the power of his love made him marry her.

The Slave was loved by many and critics from everywhere positively reviewed it. For one, it received a 4.2 out of a 5-star rating on Goodreads. Orville Prescott said about the book in his New York Times book review: "Reading ''The Slave'' is a moderately interesting intellectual experience. Mr. Singer's accounts of demons, werewolves, vampires, dibbuks and even smoks are fine. His picture of the state of life in Poland 300 years ago is a revelation." Kirkus Review said: " The descriptions of pagan barbarism, the filth of poverty, the legacy of plunder are overwhelmingly graphic. Jacob's quite modern plight is superbly delineated. Exciting, exotic, quite moving, The Slave could do very well indeed."
Overall, The Slave is a work of fiction that shows the true meaning of love and belief.

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