Disability as Metaphor in Two Novellas of Aharon Appelfeld

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Two of Appelfel’s novellas are fictional autobiographies of disabled Jewish persons. Kutti in A Journey into Winter is a stammerer and Bruno in And the Rage Is Not Yet Over is an amputee–one-handed man. The two novellas are written as monologues of their protagonists. Both of them begin with the same pattern as the protagonist introduces himself by stating his name and disability. The disability is an integral part and a major component of their identity. Although the plots of the two novellas differ from each other, there is a significant paradigmatic similarity between the novellas. In both of them the disabilities and their implications are represented not in a realistic way but in lyrical one. They function as a metaphor through which Appelfeld examines the core and essence of the Jewish protagonists of the novellas. This metaphor has a paradigmatic function. According to the paradigm, every Jew in the Diaspora has a kind of disability. This disability causes many problems and difficulties, but at the same time it is a virtue, an advantage. It makes the Jews special and unique, different from other people. It makes them think differently, have different morality and commitments. According to these two novellas this sublime disability is the core and essence of the uniqueness of the Jewish people.
Original languageEnglish
JournalYod : Revue des Études Hébraïques et Juives
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2014


  • Israeli literature
  • 1900-1999
  • Appelfeld, Aharon (1932-2018)
  • Masa‘ el ha-ḥoref (2000)
  • Ṿeha-za‘am ‘od lo nadam (2008)
  • novel
  • metaphor
  • Jewish identity
  • disabled characters


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