How Safe Are You? Themes, Concerns and Metaphor of Jewish Second-generation Literature in the Novel "To Life"
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The novel To Life concerns the inheritance of psychic trauma by the child of a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust, and is part of the genre of second-generation literature. In this exegesis I will examine the genre’s frames of reference and some of its themes and concerns as relating to the novel To Life. Firstly, I will discuss some of the creative process of writing the novel, and why I felt compelled to do so. Within that I discuss feelings of lack of entitlement as a second-generation writer, and the transformation of personal history into fiction. I then examine ‘second generation’ as a psychological description of growing up with the Holocaust, and how I have tried to recreate this in the novel. I will outline the frames of reference of second-generation literature and how they shaped this novel. In particular I will examine voice, tense and point of view; memory and postmemory; and the subconscious made conscious. The exegesis identifies metaphor as a tool for second-generation writers. In related works and in To Life, I discuss how megametaphor operates through the text as a whole, by representation, comparison and association, to indicate that something is going on under the surface. In To Life, the underlying question for someone of the second generation is, “How safe are you?”