The Watchman's Stance in A. B. Yehoshua's Fiction


This paper draws attention to observation-post scenarios in A. B. Yehoshua's narratives. His use of this device plays with the biblical motif of the "watchman over the House of Israel," by provocatively putting his watchmen and women in situations that test their abilities to assess and control their environment. Attention to Yehoshua's lookout stance also elucidates the impaired-vision trope that he characteristically attributes to his protagonists: the bifocals, myopia, lost and broken glasses, which signal a compromised ability to respond to challenges on the horizon. Yehoshua's observation-post scenarios test his watchmen's cognitive abilities in ways that push the reader to step in and evaluate the complicated situations that the blundering characters evidently struggle to interpret and control. The lookout stance is, hence, a rhetorical device that Yehoshua employs substantially across his fiction.