1: Untitled illustration for Roth’s story, Roger Barr, 1958.
When “The Conversion of the Jews” was first published in The Paris Review, this illustration by the artist Roger Barr preceded the story. It captures a key moment from the narrative: “Itzie … raised one finger on his left hand, gestured it meaningfully towards the rabbi’s back, and brought the house down.”
Suggested activity: Without being told, see if the students can find the moment in the text to which the illustration refers. Ask them to talk about the style in which Barr represents the boys. Why would he focus on this moment, in particular, for his illustration?
Source: Roger Barr, untitled illustration to Philip Roth’s “The Conversion of the Jews,” The Paris Review (Spring 1958), 22.