Analysis Of Jane Shore's Poem 'High Holy Days'

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“High Holy Days” is a poem that portrays the struggles of faith and responsibility that befall a young girl desperately trying to get her religious footing after World War II. Jane Shore, the author, created a character that is facing the challenge of not only accepting a religion but accepting that religion after forever. The young girl is at a Jewish synagogue and the first two lines of the poem paint her in a thick, uncomfortable winter coat that is making the hot building even more insufferable. Throughout the poem, the girl bears witnessed to the aftermath of anti-Semitism in America and the ever-lasting effects of her elders who were held hostage in Nazi Germany. She becomes overwhelmed with the thought of having to carry the burdens…show more content…
This may potentially be a reference toward the religious fervor the speaker has within her and how she is truly a faithful young lady but is experiencing the true hatred that remains in the world through discrimination and religious persecution. The author presents a shift in the overall tone from despair and falling down the rabbit hole into a vast wormhole of nothingness to an uplifting transition into a pious, joyous lesson engraved with hope and potential. The speaker, over the span of a few poetic lines, becomes determined to fight back against the animosity and anti-Semitism she is faced with rather than letting it dominate her world and her religious views. Jane Shore drastically switches the tone of the poem as the speaker has a spiritual revival within herself. The reader can easily picture God watching over the people in the synagogue with bowed heads and murmuring prayers to themselves but singling one girl out - one devoted, determined young lady with a fire in her eyes burning for her religion and for the spiritual family she lost to Adolf Hitler’s rule in…show more content…
She utilized the idea that learning the story of one victim out of eleven million makes the reader empathize with that victim more. Not everyone can picture 11 million Jewish people in concentration camps but they can easily picture a little, startled girl with doe eyes and shattered innocence who has the weight of the world perched precariously on her tiny shoulders. This girl, with devoted parents who were not devoted until recent times - indicated by the father having to borrow a yarmulke and her mother fidgeting with her skirt, indicating she was nervous and not used to sitting in pews for several hours - sees what the world has come to in just a few short moments during Church. She is not oblivious to why she is in Church as most children are; she takes note of why she and her parents are here and reflects on the life decision she will have to make that will take her throughout her life and the afterlife she so indomitably believes in. She ponders deeply the implications of devoting or not devoting her life to Judaism and the trials and tribulations she would face as a result of taking on the role of a Jewish girl. She makes a decision in full view of her congregation and the creator she believes in to go out into the world, labeled as “Jewish” and take every obstacle of religious discrimination she is faced with and fight back

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