Roth and war: two cases
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Although Philip Roth's style has gone through dramatic self-reinventions over the years, war has remained one of his major themes. After providing an introduction to Roth's career, this thesis examines how he represents war in "The Defender of the Faith," one of his early stories, and in Indignation, a late novel. It is no coincidence that Roth's first and latest works, separated by fifty years, are set during wartime. He was a child during World War Two, came of age during Korea, and was stirred to harsh satire by Vietnam. With this said, he seldom depicts the physical reality of armed conflict or the psychological state of those presently engaged in it. His life has not included experience in battle, although he was in the U.S. Army for a short time. Unfortunately, the life of the century he writes has been dominated by armed conflict. As a man of these times, concerned with representing them, Roth uses the backdrop of national conflict as a means of accessing history and identity: individual and national.