Study Guide

American Pastoral Gloves

By Philip Roth

Gloves

The ultra-detailed descriptions of the gloving industry could make a book in and of themselves… although it wouldn't be as entertaining as this particular book. This insider's look into the gloving industry also contributes to American Pastoral's postmodern flavor.

Postmodernism looks at the world from the perspective of individuals and micro-communities. In the case of the Levovs, history and the world are intimately connected with the leather glove, particularly the type worn by ladies to fancy functions.

Gloves are what elevated the Levov family from just-getting-by status to the realm of anything-money-can-buy. The gloves the Levovs make are luxury items, symbols of wealth and status for the wearer. For ladies who can't afford a luxury glove, or even a glove for warmth and protection, these gloves might be symbols of exclusion, or of overindulgence, even perversion, as Rita Cohen so strongly suggests.

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