US Infantry Vietnam 1965-70

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While racial divisions are sharply drawn throughout the text, the defining criteria of racial difference are nebulous and sometimes contradictory. These contradictions reveal themselves in the different categorical systems the authors employ. For example, after acknowledging that the “number of the chief division or basic races of mankind is more in dispute at the present time than when Linnaeus proposed to classify them into 4,” Folkmar and Folkmar explain that they have chosen to use a system that categorizes people as “Caucasian, Ethiopian, Mongolian, Malay, and American, or, as familiarly called, 20 THE LITERATURE OF IMMIGRATION AND RACIAL FORMATION Figure 1.

Antin explains that cowardice did not prompt such measures, emphasizing that “the fear of an unholy life was greater than all other fears” (15). While Antin obviously identifies and sympathizes with the other Jews of her community, a point to which I will return, at an early age she came to question Jewish religious and social practices. In her writing, Antin is especially critical of the inferior position prescribed for women in orthodox society. She describes how even a boy from the poorest of families would be sent to heder, becoming “the hero of the family” (32).

After describing the particular difficulties faced by Jews on the Sabbath and on high holy days, Antin shows how days of religious observance transformed her community: “On a Friday afternoon the stores and markets closed early. The clatter of business ceased, the dust of worry was laid, and the Sabbath peace flooded the quiet streets. No hovel so mean but what its casement sent out its consecrated ray, so that a wayfarer passing in the twilight saw the spirit of God brooding over the lowly roof” (30).

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