Boekverslag: Portnoy's Complaint
Title :Portnoy's Complaint
Date of first publication: 1969
Give a summary of the plot:
Alexander Portnoy is a Jewish man who lives in the United States. He's visiting his psychiatrist to talk about his life. He tells him about the life he's had. He starts with his youth. He describes how he grew up in his Jewish environment. He tells the doctor about his father and mother, and how they want him to be. Alexander himself has other ideas. He shocks his parents with his ideas about the Jewish religion and how he wants to be treaten. Later, when he's living on his own, he wants to enjoy sexual life in a extreme way. He has loved (?) many women, and with all of them he has had sex. But when he's in the promised land for all the Jews, Isra?l, he meets the first woman who he can't get. This breaks him, and so when he's home he appoints a psychiatrist's.
In what period was the story set:
The period is very important because it covers the second world war. In his youth the war hasn't started, but when the book's finished the world war has too. Because of the second world war he feels more Jewish and more extraordinary.
Quote a passage from the text which you think is important:
The text on the pages before the story starts which has the Look&Feel similar to a dictionary (Spielvogel is his doctor):
Portnoy's complaint (After Alexander Portnoy 1933- )A disorder in which strongly felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says:"Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fethism, auto- eroticism and oral co?tus are plentiful; as a consequense of the patient's "morality", however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of casrtation. It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relations- hip.
In this passage "Portnoy's complaint" is imagined as an disease.
Explain the title
Alexander Portnoy is (by my interpretation) suffering from the disease "portnoy's complaint". Otherwise, he is complaining to the doctor that he has had such a bad life.
Give a description of the main character
Alexander Portnoy, born in 1933 is a Jew. He is obsessed by the fact that he IS a jew. This is also a consequence of his strict Jewish breeding. He tries to escape his youth by doing things a good, well- bread Jew would never do. In that way he's proving to himself that he is not the Jew his parents pictured themselves.
Most Important Characters:
His parents. His parents are worried about his future. They want him to be a good boy, but they see him turning bad.
Mary Jane "The Monkey" This is his girlfriend he has picked up from the streets and he loved her more than any other woman.
Information about the author:
Philip Roth is a Jew himself, he was also breeded in a very strict environment. The books he's writing are a reflection to that
Philip Roth is een Amerikaans schrijver. Hij werd geboren als kind van tweede-generatie Joods-Amerikaanse ouders. Roth studeerde rechten en behaalde in 1955 zijn doctoraal Engels, waarna hij zijn dienstplicht vervulde. Hij doceerde literatuurwetenschappen aan diverse Amerikaanse universiteiten, het laatst aan de University of Pennsylvania. Vanaf 1992 legde hij zich geheel toe op het schrijven.
- Portnoy's Complaint
- Philip Roth
- Meer boeken van:Philip Roth