Compared to other contemporary Jewish American novels, Jonathan Rosen's Eve's Apple is less blatant in its references to Judaism and thus has taken a back seat to writers whose works are clearly derived from an encounter with traditional Jewish texts, folktales, and traditions. But beneath the secular surface of the novel—with contemporary subjects of consumerism, psychology, and eating disorders—lies a work deeply concerned with Jewish ways of looking at the world. Looking at Eve's Apple through the lens of the Rabbinic figure of the yetzer hara reveals a complex portrait of characters struggling to balance the needs of the physical body with the desire to pursue spiritual and intellectual ideals. In the novel, as in Rabbinic literature, an outright rejection of the natural impulses of the yetzer hara has the potential to be just as dangerous to one's spiritual health as a complete submission to its desires.

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pp. 95-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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