A great deal of scholarly attention has been paid to A. M. Klein’s The Second Scroll for its representation of Jewish identity. The narrator of the novel, however, recognizes that, as the descendant of immigrants, he is “a Canadian Jew marginalized from the Holocaust and the foundation of Israel.” In this sense, the narrator of The Second Scroll experiences a double marginalization resulting in a more complex representation of identity than the novel is usually afforded. Few critics, for instance, acknowledge the novel’s indebtedness to the existential philosophy of S⊘ren Kierkegaard and Martin Buber. A close reading of Klein’s use of British imperial symbols in concert with the foundational texts of existentialism and the work of Louis Althusser disrupts the dominant school of thought regarding The Second Scroll. The novel certainly celebrates Judaism, but it is not meant to represent the consolidation of a Jewish identity or ideology; rather, it is a parable for Canadians. As a result of the interpellation or “hail” of ideology, the narrator and his search for his mercurial Uncle Melech is prompted to assert a distinctly Canadian identity.

You do not currently have access to this content.