Defender Of The Faith Character Analysis

To start off, you need some background information for this writing assignment. Defender of the Faith , by Philip Roth, is a short story about an Army sergeant named Kossmeyer who has to determine if Private Witt’s religion is legitimate or not so he can be transferred to another Army battalion. Throughout the story Sergeant Kossmeyer tries to prove that Private Witt’s religion is illegitimate and in the end he succeeds. The story takes place in 1944 in a mental hospital, where soldiers who “flipped out” are sent to recover.

Roth uses foreshadowing when Kossmeyer mentions Adolf Hitler on page eight. He says, “… f Adolf Hitler says Sieg Heil! instead of good morning it doesn’t mean he’s crazy. ” This shows how confident Sergeant Kossmeyer is about his faith being true. On page twelve it states that the war had just ended but then goes on to say that there was still fighting going on between America and Germany, “but not much”, suggesting that they were close to being over with the war. This short story’s setting takes place in a mental hospital during the Second World War. The story starts out with Private Joseph Witt being interviewed by Sergeant Kossmeyer about his religion and if it is legitimate or not.

Private Witt had been sent to the mental hospital because of his anxiety about going into battle, but he claims that it’s due to him having a “religious experience”. Throughout the story it shows how much attention Kossmeyer pays to detail when he gets suspicious of what private Witt had told him and checks up on all of them individually. For example, on page forty-three, “… one time he claimed his mother was Dutch and another time he claimed she was French. ” This made sergeant Kossmeyer doubt his faith more than ever, making him certain that his religion was false.

The way the story ends is very clever because Kossmeyer comes up with a plan to trick private Witt into believing he could transfer if he would just sign some papers. This made him believe that there was no way for him to leave this battalion, making him feel even more anxious about going into battle. It ends with Private Witt having another anxiety attack and sergeant Kossmeyer says, “You see? You see how you are? ” That’s when I knew if it took me all night I’d get the truth out of the bastard” showing that he had won in the end.

Defender of the Faith, by Philip Roth is a short story about a Jewish man named Mendel Shapiro who was drafted into the Army and assigned as Rabbi for his company. The army life was not what he imagined it to be, but he went along with it anyway. One day in Europe during the war he found himself officiating at an event that has made him famous to this day. The story begins in the field outside of a temporary Army camp in Europe during World War II.

The rabbi, Mendel Shapiro, is performing his daily morning prayers when he is interrupted by one of his fellow soldiers asking for assistance with an emergency situation; the company’s commanding officer has been badly burned while attempting to light a pile of old, highly flammable rags on fire to make coffee. Shapiro doesn’t know much about first aid but he does what he can and successfully manages to slow down the bleeding until help arrives. Afterward the CO tells Shapiro that ever since this mishap someone at their “already-thin” food ration line has been stealing food from them every day and he wants Shapiro to put a stop to it.

He says that Shapiro is in charge of enforcing the rules and regulations in their camp and just as everyone follows his orders, he must follow the CO’s orders. That night Captain Black, who owns a dog named Rex, goes on patrol with another soldier from his company. They hear an animal running through the forest nearby and begin shooting at it but soon realize they are shooting at each other. In the morning, when everyone wakes up for breakfast, there is no coffee because all of their rations have been stolen again.

Everyone suspects Shapiro stole the food but they can’t prove anything so Commander White takes matters into his own hands by deciding that whoever food from them will get a court-martial. Over the next few days there are multiple incidents of theft including a stolen coat, a stolen pair of boots and a stolen knife. Everyone is only allowed one uniform to wear at a time so they have to walk barefoot in their uniforms during rainstorms or when it’s snowing because someone stole their boots.

Commander White starts taking Shapiro out on patrol with him because he suspects that whoever has been stealing from them must be around somewhere since the food is being eaten right when it goes missing from the kitchen area, but after two weeks of patrolling nothing happens. In order to escape his company’s wrath, Shapiro volunteers for a night patrol in which he could catch whatever animal keeps stealing their rations in the act. Commander White tells Shapiro that instead he should gather all the men together for a meeting.

Once everyone is together at the assembly, Command White brings out Rex and claims that someone has been sneaking around their camp with their dog. Then he hands Markusky, another soldier in their company, a gun to shoot whoever it was if they were caught by Rex during the patrol. The night of the patrol comes around and Shapiro begins walking through the forest with Rex; soon enough Rex catches scent of something and starts leading Shapiro toward it. The two figures following them are now running because they know what’s happening but then Rex jumps into action after them even though Shapiro tries to stop him.

When he does catch up to them there are only tins of food left. Shapiro is relieved that Rex didn’t catch two men, so they probably still have some time before the company realizes it was him who ate all of their food. When he returns to camp he checks on Markusky only to find out that Commander White has blamed everything on him, claiming that Shapiro had “set his dog on them. ” The CO also says he knew all along Shapiro was behind all of the thefts because of how well supplied he always seemed to be. He tells everyone in the company not go anywhere near him because doing any of that will result in a court-martial or death by firing squad.

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