This article is a comparative study of three stories: 'Mister Levi' by Amos Oz, 'Games in the Winter' by Itzhak Ben-Ner, and Yehoshua Kenaz's 'Henrik's Secret'. These stories are identified and examined as initiation stories, sharing other features such as being set during a common timeframe (the later years of the British mandatory regime in Palestine, the period leading up to 1948), as well as the fact that these three stories also have in common young characters — all boys — who are not only the protagonists of these stories, but also function as the narrators who also tell the stories. The reason for reading these stories within a common framework lies in the linkage that seems to manifest itself in each of them between the individual story and the shared, extremely significant, historical background. Despite this, each story can stand on its own and can be seen in the light of an independent model of an Israeli initiation story, true to the poetics, viewpoint and stance of its author towards the 'Israeli situation'. Oz's story can be read as one 'reversed', in which an ideological initiation is hidden behind an ironic mask; Ben-Ner's story is discussed as dealing with initiation in a rural surrounding, shrouded in mythical layers; finally, Kenaz's work is interpreted in the light of an initiation episode taking place between two people who do not share the same cultural values. Since the historical background of these stories is considered to be an extremely formative period in the establishment of the nascent Israeli state, one of the article's conclusions is that, beyond their individual stories, the characters in these works must be interpreted as representations of the various narratives that have formed and built up the collective identity of Israel, be it social or ideological. At the conclusion, the article also suggests that the periods in which these stories were written and published are highly significant in that sense that they point to the ongoing initiation process of a society not yet fully formed or matured.
|Translated title of the contribution||To Wake Up From a Dream, to Separate From a Vision|
|Journal||מחקרי ירושלים בספרות עברית|
|State||Published - 2001|