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Defender of the Faith Defender of the Faith by Philip Roth is a short story that exemplifies the nature of Jewishness that is portrayed through the characters of Sergeant Marx and Sheldon Grossbart Throughout the story there is a recurring theme revolving around the dilemma Sergeant Marx must face in his decision to act as either a top sergeant Jewish man or human being Paterson 136 Marxs internal quarrels in turn cause him to constantly question his beliefs thus leading him to a burdensome battle he must conquer in order to retain his faith As the story progresses Roth makes use of dilemma through the main character and protagonist Sergeant Nathan Marx Searles 102 Marxs character is always in a state of uncertainty in his numerous encounters with one of his Jewish trainees Sheldon Grossbart Since Marx is also Jewish Grossbart cunningly attempts to use this common trait as a way to receive special privileges from Marx Through each encounter Marxs true character and personality are revealed by the use of this dilemma While Grossbart continues to gain pity for his Jewishness from the sergeant Marx is aware of Grossbarts sly tactics yet repeatedly gives in to his requests Although Marx is a die-hard soldier programmed and determined to carry out the important task of preparing his men for war he shows the reader a sympathetic quality that breaks free of his duty inclined thought Lee 43 For example when Grossbart pleads with Marx that he must leave base for a day to visit his aunt for the Jewish holiday Marx is faced with the decision of whether or not to let Grossbart leave even though it was prohibited to do so In this incidence Marx agrees to the terms believing in the importance of family and holidays Through each dilemma Marxs character is strengthened yet becoming more furious as the story comes to a close In his final dilemma with Grossbart
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