Boyarin - Cheung 1 Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare Expository...

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Cheung Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare Expository Writing BU 11 February 2011 Side Street Struggles Removing a person from their native culture and thrusting them into one that is new creates a person with a marginal identity, and identity that preserves it’s past but attempts to adapt. This new marginality gives way to a new culture and breed of person that is not fully accepted by either side of their makeup. These are a few ideas one must consider as they navigate Jonathan Boyarin’s recount of a Jew finding himself in the 20 th century, “Waiting for a Jew”. Similarly we find some of the same questions regarding redemption and self-image shrouding Beth Loffereda’s, “Selections from: Losing Matt Shepard ” suggesting some parallels in both the text and the authors thought process. Both authors attempt to summarize a culture by immersing themselves in their studies, but in doing so both authors find their voices somewhat limited by becoming too close to what they are analyzing and create a skewed image of that which they are studying. Loffreda’s essay was one about media and how they deliver false information or under the wrong motives as well as about the dehumanization of people during this process. Boyarin’s text was somewhat of an autobiography as well as an ethnography in that he recounted his childhood up through his adulthood to give us a perspective on living an Orthodox Jewish life and the complexities of being Jewish in a white non-Semite society. There exists a fine line between being close enough and too close, this line both Boyarin and Loffreda have crossed. As an individual’s job or duty starts to intertwine with his or her community and culture, he or she may become too emotionally involved resulting in a biased, non-professional 1
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Cheung performance or outcome; the complications of someone becoming attached to something they are involved with interrupts the purpose of unbiased and scientific research, whether it involves national media from Wyoming or Jewish marginality. During their studies both authors begin to find and develop a soft spot for that which they are studying and we see them taking the side of the victim or in Boyarin’s case taking a shul as his own. Although Boyarin “must find a dissertation topic” (Boyarin 90) for his graduate studies we later find him, “settle in…like a new immigrant coming to his landsmanshaft’s shul to hear melodies from his town” (Boyarin 94). Similarly Loffreda states that, “It was hard to see past the reporters to the event that had drawn us in the first place, and it was hard to know to a
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Boyarin - Cheung 1 Andrew Cheung Stephanie Clare Expository...

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