The collapse of motherhood
DOI link for The collapse of motherhood
The collapse of motherhood book
In this chapter, I focus on Cynthia Ozick’s short story “The Shawl.” In this chapter, I address how Ozick portrays the impossibility of motherhood in the “anti-world.” Ozick provides her readers with a glimpse into a world leading to a moment when a mother (Rosa) witnesses her child’s murder; yet, rather than crying out for her child, Rosa is frozen in the collapsing of time and the feeling that constitutes the “anti-world” – a place where to feel or act was a reason to be killed. Writing about Ozick’s fiction, Lawrence Friedman briefly addresses how Rosa is caught in a “hellish present”; however, the majority of his analysis, in tandem with the works of Victor Strandberg and Sanford Pinsker, highlights Ozick’s various aesthetics and religious allusions in her work, rather than addressing her use of the short story form, or her survivor’s inability to foster the mother–child relationship within the anti-world.