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Short Friday

Assignment: There will be a total of 4 pages to be written. The first two pages should focus on questions 1 and 2, and the last two pages should focus on questions 3, 4, 5, and 6. Thus, we should have a separate answer to each question (instead of having a 4-page paper with a jointly single answer to all of them altogether.

Short Friday

Questions to complete the project Short Friday Research Paper:

1. In “Short Friday,” Singer takes the reader on an interesting but brief journey through the life of Shmul-Leibele and his wife as they prepare for and observe the Sabbath, only to conclude with their simultaneous deaths from what can be assumed is asphyxiation by the fumes from the stove. How does Singer suggest we interpret such a surprise ending?

2. Do you interpret Shmul-Leibele and his wife as representative or symbolic of the Jewish community, their past and future? Why?

3. The fact that Shmul-Leibele and his wife Shoshe have been unable to bear children is brought up at both the beginning and the end of the story as well as at key points throughout the story. What is the significance of this points’ being emphasized?

4. Does Singer’s reference to the winter solstice or the shortest day of the year have any special significance or relevance to the story besides its title?

5. What does Shmul-Leibele’s prayer “Let us not be in need either of the gifts of flesh and blood nor of their loans” say about him? About the Jewish community?

6. Is it fair to suggest that Singer foreshadows the couple’s death when, upon entering the hut he shared with his wife, Shmul-Leibele is reminded of Paradise? Why is this significant?

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