Among the numerous groups that have negotiated their fragmented identities through various literary practices in the last few decades, the Jewish collective has come to symbolize the epitome of diaspora and homelessness. In particular, British-Jewish writers have recently started to reconstruct their fragmented memories through writing. This is an extremely interesting phenomenon in the case of those Jewish women who are fiercely struggling to find some sense of personhood as Jewish, British, female, immigrant subjects. Linda Grant’s novel The Cast Iron Shore
will be analyzed so as to unveil the narrative mechanisms through which many of the identity tensions experienced by contemporary Jewish women are exhibited. The different stages in the main character’s journey will be examined by drawing on theories on the construction of Jewish identity and femininity, and by applying the model of multidirectional memory fostered by various contemporary thinkers such as Michael Rothberg, Stef Craps, Max Silverman, and Bryan Cheyette. The main claim to be demonstrated is that this narration links the (hi)stories of oppression and racism endured both by the Jewish and the Black communities in order to make the protagonist encounter the Other, develop her mature political self, and liberate her mind from rigid religious, patriarchal, and racial stereotypes. The Cast Iron Shore
becomes, then, a successful attempt to demonstrate that the (hi)stories of displacement endured by divergent communities during the twentieth century are connected, and it is the establishment of these connections that can help contemporary Jewish subjects to claim new notions of their personhood in the public sphere.
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