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Day of Awe

I was particularly compelled by “Day of Awe” in Edith Pearlman’s collection of stories Binocular Vision. I will tell the truth, and say that these stories were a bit hard to get in to. Pearlman’s details were well thought and dictated on the page in an appropriate manner, but I felt as though they did not exactly help the plot of the story move along. I felt that way with “Inbound.” I felt as though there was a lot of wonderful description with Sophie and her parents, but the incident of Sophie getting lost did not actually happen until further into the story. But in the case of “Day of Awe,” I believe that there is more of a meaningful and impactful lesson. There was so much oddity in the beginning that made the story interesting right off the bat. The indication that there were two Jewish men in Central America living there for an extended period of time, while the younger son, Lex, is trying to adopt an underdeveloped and little known boy named Jaime. During the story I got the sense that Robert was feeling distant from this foreign land, understandably so, since he lived a Jewish life in America and could barely speak Spanish to his new grandson.
I guess that this story takes place in the early eighties, with the talk of arms smuggling and revolution in South and Central America. Again, there is a theme of disconnect and lacking harmony. The scene that I felt was the most gripping was the orphanage scene. I recall one particular passage when Robert was describing the orphanage, “Boys: waiting for guns and cholera (pg. 21).” This was the first indication of Robert realizing where he was and understanding how different his life was than these poor orphans who have no control over their destiny, while Robert is worried about the lack of Jews there were to celebrate Yom Kippur in the country. “The afternoon would soon end. Somewhere, elsewhere, maybe in Miami, a congregation was praying together, was feeling united, singular, almost safe (pg. 22).” This to me was the most important passage and summed the theme up. The sadness that Robert must have felt as he was experiencing the atmosphere and uncertainty of the orphanage, was something that was purely unbelievable and unknown to the world. “How misleading to call this world the third. It was nether (pg. 23).” It was something that opened my eyes to the true meaning of the story.

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