8: Interview excerpt, Walter Mauro and Elena Clementelli speak with Philip Roth, 1974.
In this section of an interview Roth gave about fifteen years after the story was originally published, he describes the story and how he thinks about it.
Suggested activity: Ask students what they think Roth means when he says the story is about “the oppressiveness of family feeling” and “binding ideas of religious exclusiveness.” Why does Roth describe the story as “primitive”? Do the story or any of its details seem, to you, to be the work of an immature writer, and if so, how? How would you characterize the tone or quality of Roth's writing in the story?
Source: Walter Mauro and Elena Clementelli, The American Poetry Review 3:4 (July/August 1974), 18-20, at 19.