Broken Glass Jewish Essay

1075 words - 4 pages

Broken Glass Jewish

In 1938, the onset of violent anti-Semitic riots in Germany created one of the most horrific struggles of our time. Not only did this outrageous holocaust bring sadness and death to the Jews in Germany but also to the ones living here in America. In, The Broken Glass, by Arthur Miller, we see the lives of three completely different characters portrayed. First, we see Sylvia Gullberg, who has been a housewife ever since her husband Philip made her quit. She is the first one to be affected by the news in Germany. Her husband, Phillip, has been hiding from his race ever since he was a teen, and because of this ruins his marriage and ultimately his life. Lastly, Dr. Harry Hyman, who views everything with his eyes wide open, is the only possible hope of bringing the two back together. I will show how each character reacts to the identity of their blood, and deals with issues such as ethnicity, class, and gender.
Philip Gullberg is the main problem throughout this whole movie. He seems to always be burning the flame of his wife’s fear and of his own which ultimately puts him to rest. Ironically, as his wife sat paralyzed in the house, he burns the newspaper that put her in shock, to keep her warm. He is a Jewish American who has been trying to hide his ethnicity ever since he was young. He even makes it a point to pronounce his last name Gullberg instead of Goldberg, which would obviously sound too Jewish. He works at a WASP bank and is in fact the only existing Jewish employee. Philip has spent most of his life in denial, and it is apparent he is always on the defense about being Jewish. For example, he thinks Mr. Case is after him just because he is Jewish. He is also afraid of his class and even began wearing all black as a young teen, as to gain power in the work place. He feels inferior to his white co-workers. He even has gender issues. For example, Philip say’s, “If my wife were a man, she could be director of the Federal Reserve,” and “you can talk to my wife like she’s a man.” These are certainly statements that he would not be saying about his wife if he thought gender wasn’t a problem. As far as their marriage goes, Philip and Sylvia have a very business like relationship. He feels he is the man of the house, which is why he won’t let her work. Unfortunately, this way of living for so many years has torn Sylvia apart from him.
I believe Sylvia Gullberg is the strongest character throughout this movie. Unfortunately, she too has been living a lie for the past twenty years as a housewife and now even as she lay paralyzed in bed, fights to make a difference. Once a businesswoman, she gave up all of that for everyone’s sake but her own. And now after...

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