The Golem, according to legend, is a man-made creature, constructed out of wax, inanimate until a written Cabalistic scripture is placed in its mouth. Without the written word, the physical form of the Golem remains a mix of primal elements; without the clay to inspire, the written prayer remains a written prayerequally powerless. Gustav Meyrink's Golem also depends on this mix of the natural and the supernatural. The novel follows an unnamed narrator, who wakes up one morning as the gemcutter Pernath. Pernath in turn becomes, through a series of supernatural events, the legendary Golem, a monster said to haunt the Prague ghetto every thirty-three years. . If the Golem is simply a body without soul, and if in turn Pernath is that Golem, in order to become whole, the Golem must find a way to unite both the soul and the body. For Meyrink, the act of writing is in itself supernaturalas Pernath follows Meyrink's story, he becomes a more mystical creature.
[...] seemed to have been clumsily painted in water-color by the hand of a child; and represented the Hebrew letter Aleph, in the form of a man dressed in Frankish fashion, his grey peaked beard cut short, his left arm raised on high, while the other pointed downwards.” (Golem, p. 66). Pernath's appearance has been described by his friends as that of an old-fashioned French aristocrat, with his slender figure and pointed beard.” (Golem, p. so it is clear immediately that Pernath has already begun to morph into a written image. [...]
[...] Pernath is now more than simply a Hanging Man, a creature without body that exists in cards and alphabets; he is more than the Golem, a lump of flesh, mute and without speech. He has been perfected through the conflict of the written and the spoken word. He has become his own man. Bibliography Meyrink, Gustav. The Golem. Dover Publications, Inc.; Mineola: 1986 Leeper, Mark R. Golem in Literature, Film, and Stage.” 2002. http://www.geocities.com/markleeper/golem.htm Schoolfield, George C. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 81: Austrian Fiction Writers, 1875-1913. [...]
[...] When he speaks to people, he is often misunderstood; he doesn't tell stories, but simply asks questions—he is feeling his way through the world as if he were in a dark corridor. Yet this despair is soon cured by another near-miraculous surprise—a letter from a long-forgotten childhood friend, begging his assistance. Upon reading the letter, Pernath comes across the word ‘father' and is able to remember, briefly, the face of his own father before the image fades. After finishing the letter, Pernath reacts with joy, thrilled to be of use to someone: empty life quite suddenly had been filed by something some substance that was rich and glowing. [...]
[...] Goldsmith says that the Hanged Man is a symbol of “renewal and salvation”; the man on the rope passes through trials of “courage” and to achieve blissful state of freedom from desire.” Pernath, very soon after reading the Ibbur, begins to allude to himself in terms of the Aleph. Upon hearing the verbal tale of the Golem for the first time The story of the Golem as related by Zwakh passed through my mind, and suddenly I recognized a connection of infinite mystery and magnitude between that legendary room without an entrance, which the unknown was supposed to inhabit, and my own significant dream. [...]
[...] This is not to say that Pernath has reached a state of perfection when he sees himself reflected in the tarot card. He has been renewed by this experience, but his faith and courage will need to be tested; these are virtues the Hanging Man must display. The situations with Charousek, Miriam, and Angelina all help with these tests. All of these situations begin with a story, and end with a letter. Even his experience in prison reflects this pattern: though he was verbally charged with murder and condemned to prison, he is freed by a written exoneration. [...]
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