Year 2019, Volume 19 , Issue 48, Pages 27 - 42 2019-06-29

The Analysis of Etgar Keret’s Short Story “Breaking the Pig”
ETGAR KERET’İN “DOMUZU KIRMAK” ADLI KISA ÖYKÜSÜNÜN TAHLİLİ

Alper SARIBAŞ [1]


Etgar Keret who was born in 1967 in Ramat Gan is one of the most important figures of 21th-century Israeli literature and cinema. Although he published his first book of short stories, Pipes (צנורות – Tsinorot), when he was only twenty-five years old, in 1992, it was with his second book, Missing Kissinger (געגועי לקיסינג'ר - Ga‘agu‘ay Le’Kissinger), (1994), that Keret attracted the attention of literary circles. Adopting a derisive attitude toward the political, religious and military values held sacred by the Israeli society, the author focuses in his stories on the relations between family members as well as on friendships and relationships. Taken to task by some literary critics for allegedly injuring the values of Israeli society and lacking these values himself, Keret in fact adopts an alternative, more critical approach to certain values exploited by the Zionist movement. The characters who take part in his stories usually have been described as antiheroes but most of them ignore the values, even when those are accepted by the society they live in, and stay to loyal their beliefs. In this regard, the subject of his short story Breaking the Pig (לשבור את החזיר) which found in the Missing Kissenger is the criticism of materialism through the father-son relations. Etgar Keret, in this short story, shows how a child grows mature, but not in the way demanded by the economic system and its representative in the house, his father. This short story has become one of the most famous stories of Etgar Keret, many of which have been adapted for the cinema as well. 

Structured Abstract

Since the early nineties Etgar Keret has become world-famous with his comic books and short stories, more than forty of which have been adapted for the cinema as well. Although he published his first book of short stories, Pipes (צנורות – Tsinorot), when he was only twenty-five years old, in 1992, it was with his second book, Missing Kissinger (געגועי לקיסינג'ר - Ga‘agu‘ay Le’Kissinger), (1994), that Keret attracted the attention of literary circles. Adopting a derisive attitude toward the political, religious and military values held sacred by the Israeli society, the author focuses in his stories on the relations between family members as well as on friendships and relationships. Taken to task by some literary critics for allegedly injuring the values of Israeli society and lacking these values himself, Keret in fact adopts an alternative, more critical approach to certain values exploited by the Zionist movement.

The subject of his short story Breaking the Pig (לשבור את החזיר) is the criticism of materialism through the father-son relations, found in his second book. The protagonist of this story is a child called Yoav, who requests his father to buy him a Bart Simpson toy. His father firmly turns down this request. Stating that his son should learn to apprise the value of money and the things bought with it, he buys his son a piggy bank instead. In return for his son drinking a glass of hot cocoa with the skin each day, he gives him a shekel to be dropped into the piggy bank. Initially, Yoav drinks the cocoa with the skin only in order to buy the Bart Simpson toy. Eventually, however, he becomes emotionally attached to the piggy bank.

His nuclear family is a patriarchal one. Since the father figure in the story is responsible for earning a living for the entire family, his authority on his son and wife is strong. The mother figure, in turn, fulfills a complementary role in the story, serving to throw into relief the relations between the father and the son. Accordingly, Yoav’s father acts as the decision maker in the house, and wants to impose on his son what he regards as the correct way proceeding. In consumer societies everything has a price, calculated in terms of money. The simple system of barter established between the son and the father (a shekel in return for a glass of cocoa with the skin) points to “money” as the most important link in the current economic system.

It is only natural for parents today to raise their children in accordance with their own values. However, the father in the story is not expecting his son to develop an attitude that would benefit himself, his family, or the society. In contrast, he is expecting him to grow out of the innocence of childhood to learn to love money and things bought with it. In other words, he tries to make his son understand that all things he sees around have a price. In this respect, he adopts a thoroughly materialistic attitude.

Although Yoav eventually rebels against this attitude, which lies at the basis of the entire modern economic system, he acts instinctually at first. According to our protagonist, who has a powerful imagination, once upon a time there lived in postboxes a man called Pesahzon. The name Pesahzon also calls into mind the Pesah fest celebrated by the Jews as marking their escape from slavery in Egypt. Yoav begins to call the piggy bank by this name, as he regards and treats it as a real animal. He even imagines himself to be feeding the pig as he drops the shekels he has received from his father into the slot at its back. He has in fact found the uninterested love he needed in the pig, and he similarly loves it without any expectations in return.

Although Yoav obediently fulfilled the demands of his father until then, his new, profound love for his pig hero leads him to rebel against his father’s new command to break the piggy bank and retrieve the money inside in order to buy the Bart Simpson toy he wanted so much at the beginning. Yoav is no longer acting instinctually; he flees from home with his pig friend once his father falls asleep. Walking a while with the pig at his hand, he finally leaves the pig with all the money inside at a field. Although a little child, he acts like a mature person in giving up Bart Simpson to save his friend’s life. What he really leaves at the field, therefore, is his innocence, and he steps in the world of realities in this way.

This final refusal of the protagonist to be “educated” by his father is what lends its striking quality to the end of the story. Yoav does not beg and cry in an effort to try and to persuade his parents to let him continue living with the pig friend he loves so much. He behaves maturely, preparing and carrying out a plan of his own.

Thus Etgar Keret, in his short story Breaking the Pig, shows how a child grows mature, but not in the way demanded by the economic system and its representative in the house, his father. First he instinctually gets to love the piggy bank for its own sake, not for the money deposited in it, and then shows himself independent enough to save it without help from his parents, even forgoing the Bart Simpson toy he had wanted so much in the beginning. Indeed, it is precisely this special love for the piggy bank that runs counter to all the values of the current capitalistic consumer society that allows him to reach maturity.

1967 yılında Ramat Gan şehrinde dünyaya gelen Etgar Keret modern İsrail edebiyatının ve sinemasının en önemli karakterlerinden birisidir. Yazar yirmi beş yaşında iken Borular (צנורות – Tsinorot) adlı öykü antolojisini 1992 yılında yayımlamış olsa da 1994 yılında yayımladığı Kissinger’a Özlemler (געגועי לקיסינג'ר - Ga‘agu‘ay Le’Kissinger) adlı ikinci öykü antolojisinden sonra İsrail edebiyatında çok önemli bir konum elde eder. İsrail toplumu tarafından kutsal sayılan siyasi, dini ve askeri değerleri alaycı bir üslupla ele alan yazar, öykülerinde aile ilişkilerinin yanı sıra dostluk ve gönül ilişkilerine odaklanmaktadır. Bazı edebiyat eleştirmenleri tarafından İsrail toplumun değerlerine zarar vermekle ve bu değerlere saygı duymamakla suçlanan Keret, öykülerinde aslında Siyonist hareket tarafından sömürülen belirli değerlere farklı ve çok daha hassas bir tutum sergilemektedir. Öykülerinde yer verdiği kahramanlar genellikle anti kahraman olarak nitelendirilir ancak bu kahramanların birçoğu içinde yaşadıkları toplumun kendilerine dayatmaya çalıştığı değer yargılarını görmezden gelir ve kendi doğrularına sadık kalır. Bu bağlamda Kissinger’a Özlemler koleksiyonunda yer alan Lişbor et Hahazir (Domuzu Kırmak) adlı kısa öyküsünün temelinde de baba-oğul ilişkisi üzerinden maddiyatçılık eleştirisi yatar. Etgar Keret, bu kısa öyküde ekonomik sistemin dayatmasını ve onun evdeki temsilcisi babanın isteğini görmezden gelen bir çocuğun olgunluğa adım atmasını işler. Birçok öyküsü sinemaya uyarlanan yazarın bu öyküsü, en meşhur öykülerinden biri olur. 

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  • İnternet Kaynakları
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Primary Language tr
Subjects Social
Journal Section Articles
Authors

Author: Alper SARIBAŞ (Primary Author)
Institution: ANKARA ÜNİVERSİTESİ
Country: Turkey


Dates

Application Date : November 19, 2018
Acceptance Date : May 14, 2019
Publication Date : June 29, 2019

APA SARIBAŞ, A . (2019). ETGAR KERET’İN “DOMUZU KIRMAK” ADLI KISA ÖYKÜSÜNÜN TAHLİLİ. Nüsha , 19 (48) , 27-42 . DOI: 10.32330/nusha.485130