Books and Movies Reviews

Defender of the faith

In the short story "Defender of the faith" by Phillip Roth, we are confronted with several different conflicts: man vs. himself, as Sergeant Marx is struggling to decide whether he should be a military man, or a Jewish man; man vs. man, with Grossbart constantly challenging authority and assimilation into the military; and man vs. society, as Sergeant Marx is worried about how his decisions will be received in the military community.These conflicts all lead to a general theme.The general theme being, that in life, at times, people may come in conflict with others who like to exploit certain things or situations to their own advantage.It may be hard to decide how to deal with these situations, especially if you find yourself in a situation involving a dilemma.
Sergeant Marx's dilemma was, having to choose between basing his decision of acting on Grossbart's actions, on his religious principals or his military training.He comes to these dilemmas often in the story, involving minor situations such as the G.I. parties on "Friday nights when Jews are supposed to go to services" (132) and more serious situations such as when "every single trainee was to be shipped… to the Pacific – every trainee but one." (152)Grossbart was the "one" trainee who got himself out of having to go.Sergeant Marx, for thefirst part of the story, would generally try and help Grossbart, perhaps feeling slightly inclined to do so due to their religious ties; however by the end of the story, Marx has seen through Grossbart's guise and refuses to let Grossbart get away with anything else.This could happen many times in life, where when some one tries to help another, only to find that they themselves are being exploited, as well as everyone around them.
All decisions in life may not always be favorable.There may be several different benefits and detriments involved in all choices.