Simple Summaries

The Brawl

David Gelernter

Simple Summary by Sarah Frank

·      “She can’t stomach anymore of Jackie’s berating Steven, not just now, though Jackie is right to be yelling at her because Libbie is guilty and knows it”

o  “The meeting…left Jackie writhing like a whip and Steven suicidal”

o  Jackie = Libbie’s cousin and best friend

·      “It’s 1978—Jews are intermarrying like crazy.”

o  Jackie is Jewish and marrying a non-Jewish German named Klaus

§ “A million men to choose from, plenty of presentable Jewish ones, and there is nothing special about Klaus except that he is German and therefore lethal.”

o  “Jackie has a thing for Steven; respects him, perversely admires him. And Steven felt something for Jackie. He denies it but that proves nothing, he would.”

§ Steven IS Jewish

·      Stephen “Agreed to sit down with Libbie and Jackie and Klaus—Jackie had refused to come without Klaus—to sit down at a restaurant and talk.”

·      “Forget Jackie, the hell with Jackie. Jackie will marry Klaus. Jackie and Klaus will be a stab of pain forever. And their children—pain and humiliation multiplying in a tired world.”

·      Stephen says “This cousin’s main joy in life is torturing [Libbie]. Someone ought to wring her neck.”

·      “A few weeks before he left for Israel she had praised to Steven with eager innocence her new discovery, Simone Weil, a self-sacrificing heroine and martyr in whom she could see, maybe, a little bit of herself.”

o  She is not Jewish though

·      “Jackie cuddling against Klaus; he throws an arm around her shoulders and smiles fondly, proud owner”

·       Libbie says “Don’t you see? The whole thing was just to bait you, she’s a scheming—a scheming, she’s playing with you, don’t you see?”

o   Steven replies: “Oh please, she dug this guy up for me? I’m the reason she fell in love with a big leering German sheygetz?”

o  Libbie: “the whole deal is to torment you as much as possible, to make you care, then walk away with Klaus, don’t you see, it’s so clear, that’s the whole idea, the whole plan. It’s exactly what she wants because she cares for you, I’m telling you, you don’t understand, she still cares for you”

·      Rafi answers when Libbie calls and says “I think you should lay off him, this business about your cousin. I’ve never seen this before, how he looked just now. He was like, wild. Jumping around. I tried to get him not to go. I don’t like this.”

o  He was going to Jackie’s

o  What Jackie said was “be careful what you wish for, bucko, cause what if you get it?”

·      “By now he has nearly covered the twenty blocks between his apartment and hers.”