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Intercultural Matriarchal Figures in Gershons Ruth and Esther Gershon uses biblical midrash to reexamine the place of the matriarchal figure after the Shoah Both poems center on one central female from the bible although one is identified as a Jew while one is identified as furthering the lineage of Christ Both poems give these women the power of choice which they do not have in the typical biblical text Both poems show the power of man as motivation over the power of God Although there is an absence of the God figure in Ruth it is present in Esther Gershon enters through her poetry these separate women to In the first stanza of Ruth we learn that Ruth descends from a line of Christians which immediately contrasts to the speakers religion in the form of Gershon Although the speaker and Ruth share different religions they have many things in common The first example of this is in the line She preferred exile to being alone Gershon 4 whereby even though the exile of Gershons people was not voluntary both Gershon and Ruth share the experience of exile The idea of being a stranger is shared by both the speaker and Ruth This is the first time where the speaker enters into Ruths character At the end of the second major verse paragraph the speaker is speculating on Ruths feelings saying Did she feel I have come home Gershon 10 This line exhibits both the mutual feelings shared and the idea of a home that is unnatural or one that has to be rebuilt This idea is furthered in the second section where Ruth looks to her birthplace but knows she cannot go back to it The second and fourth sections of this poem deal with the aspects of trying to live an ordinary existence under the conditions of being a stranger Aspects
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