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Tevye the Dairyman

Tevye the Dairyman

by Sholem Aleichem

Tevye the Dairyman Analysis

Literary Devices in Tevye the Dairyman

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Tevye's village is the main setting here, but you can't figure out much about it without knowing a little more about the major historical and political shifts happening way off in big cities like M...

Narrator Point of View

This one's easy: every story is told to Sholem Aleichem (and, so, to us) by Tevye himself and about himself. Other characters show up, sure, but only to illustrate some point that Tevye's making....

Genre

Realism Oh, realism. So much ink has been spilled for what seems like such an obvious word. Basically, realism describes writing in which an author tries to reproduce real life on the page, wart...

Tone

You know what Tevye the Dairyman totally sounds like? Like one of those talking head to-the-camera confessionals on reality TV shows. You know, where they take a cast member and sit him/her down...

Writing Style

To really make the framing narrative of the thing work, Sholem Aleichem has to work hard to keep the text sounding all talk-y. (Oh, quick brain snack, Shmoopsters: a framing narrative is what you c...

What's Up With the Title?

As a title, Tevye is pretty standard as far as the anvil-like books of realistic literature go: Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Anna Karenina. You get the point. Sholem Aleichem...

What's Up With the Ending?

So, for about half of the stories in this book, we get funny and not particularly distressing adventures—you know, just a guy who's living his life, dealing with some uppity wimmins, no bigs. But...

Tough-o-Meter

Sure, there are some Yiddish words and maybe the names are a little complicated to say out loud, and you should probably at least have a sense that it wasn't so super-awesome for Jews in turn-of-...

Plot Analysis

Dairyman, Make Me a Match ("The Great Windfall") After a particularly lucky break where he rescues two lost women who happens to be quite wealthy, Tevye collects enough money to stop wood cuttin...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Yoohoo! Tevye! We start with "wretchedness at home and the 'Call'" to go out into the wider world. Check and check. Tevye begins the story as a hand-to-mouth woodcutter with a large and hungry fami...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Cash CowTevye is an "ordinary man" (1.2) until he comes into a little money and sets himself up as a dairyman. Well, he's still ordinary. But at least he's not dirt-poor anymore. Making Their Own M...

Trivia

Sholem Aleichem and Mark Twain had kind of a similar thing going on—folksy humor, silly-sounding pen names—and were frequently compared. When Mark Twain heard people referring to Sholem Aleiche...

Steaminess Rating

Sorry, dudes, nothing to see here. Everyone keeps their clothes on, no one talks about sex in any way, and even the engaged people don't make out or anything. Shoot, the married people don't even s...

Allusions

The Torah—every page of each storyThe Midrash (rabbinical commentaries on verses from the Torah)—every page of each story Russian Constitution of 1906—7.1The Bialystok Pogrom of 1906—7....
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