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Justin Mather Mr. Mackechnie English 11 Honors 4B 07 May 2006 PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT CRITICISM The eccentric, obsessed, sex driven story of Alexander Portnoy in Philip Roth's novel, Portnoy's Complaint tells the story of a teenager going through his adolescent years with sexual urges to deal with in life. Alexander is a Jewish boy with a huge nose to match his huge ego, in love with sex. Published first in 1969 Philip Roth has Portnoy grow up in a strict household with expectations to be proper and well behaved yet he has to find ways around his parents to satisfy his sexual tensions. He loves being kinky in the bedroom even though he feels guilty doing it and he relates his problems through flashbacks, and anecdotes to his life seeking help for his problem. Philip Roth, through out the novel of Portnoy's Complaint, showed flaws of teenagers with sexual obsessions, harsh language to get points across, and concentration on Jewish-American experiences in life after the war in society. ...read more.


... I come back to the kitchen table, scowling and cranky, to grumble self-righteously at my father when he opens his mouth full of red jello and says, "I don't understand what you have to lock the door about. (Roth 19-20) Luckily he doesn't get caught but later he has to come clean to the doctor because it becomes and addiction and his problem lie in the urge to masturbate and he needs serious help to solve it. This problem occurs through adolescence and through puberty of a teenager's life, when hormones increase and you realize what "pleasure" is to your body and you want to satisfy it. Roth took care of this problem and played it out in the novel to a teen's perspective but got it through as a form in his writing. Another, style Roth used to get points across and to stress dialogue that was strong in emotion and meaning was by using figurative language and capitol letters to give a demanding tone. ...read more.


The writers were better educated and began to merge into the mainstream of American life." (1). Roth wrote about the household with a working father and the family at the dinner table with events going on in the world. The novel was thought to be written as "typical," and: Of a generation in rebellion against established values, but it has a curious resemblance to the immigrant school of Jewish-American fiction. Its hero rejects all things Jewish and struggles to become integrated into what he regards as a desirable, secular and liberal way of life." (Nilsen 1-2). Portnoy's battle against his society and heritage ended in a draw, where nobody won, and relates to current society where nobody ever wins, yet we are in a struggle all the time. Roth's novel is covers self struggle psychologically as well: Roth's novel has a great deal of psychological awareness built into it. The hero is prodigiously intelligent and well versed in his Freud and Marx, but his knowledge is of no help to him. Instead, he employs it as the instrument of an endless self-analysis that becomes an exercise in masochism.... (Nilsen 2). ...read more.

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3 star(s)

The writer clearly engages with novel and has worked through three main points in essay logically. Evidence of wider reading shown by inclusion of critical voices. Quotes are overly long and at times are not analysed deeply enough.

There is some poor sentences construction, indicating a lack of careful proofreading.

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Marked by teacher Kate Dixon 23/10/2013

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