Abstract

Clifford Odets's 1935 play Awake and Sing! was one of the earliest American Jewish dramas outside of the Yiddish theater to present a brutally honest portrayal of the American Jewish family. This Depression-era play offered a searing critique of middle-class mores and aspirations while holding up the family as an anchor of support and affection, a safeguard from anomie. This ambivalence reflected Odets's conflicted Jewish identity. His struggle with Jewishness helped him capture the general condition of the Jew in interwar America and informed his transformation of stock characters from the Yiddish stage into nuanced, thoroughly Americanized archetypes, many of whom continue to populate both stage and screen.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 2-30
Launched on MUSE
2007-04-23
Open Access
No
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