Manifestations of the Gothic in Jewish Literature



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The Jewish experience is a prime landscape for the gothic to erupt. Our constant instability as a people—our homelessness, our oppression, our ancestry—is ripe for a gothic reading. I found that the Jewish gothic predicates itself not on original sin, but on a sense of moral responsibility that manifests in values such as tikkun olam and tzedakah. It is obsessed with generational trauma, the desire and inability to have a home, who gets to speak, and the slow degradation of tradition. Many of these anxieties can be found in two emblematic figures of the Jewish gothic, the dybbuk and the golem. Both consider repressed voices, unearth the oppression of women, and question traditional religious rules, all within specifically Jewish contexts. I utilized these aspects in the writing of two short stories that manifested my understanding of the Jewish gothic. In the end, I learned that while the Jewish gothic shares many similarities with the inherent tropes of the gothic genre found in European literature, the perpetual and ancestral fear contained within the Jewish community manifests a gothic canon with its own twists and turns.



Gothic, Judaism, Creative Writing