Suicide is always a controversial issue. Among Jews, it is often taboo. Stereotypically, Jews do not commit suicide; certainly, they do not discuss it. Passionate Women, Passive Men: Suicide in Yiddish Literature challenges this perception, exploring the problem of suicide through a series of literary case studies. Hadda investigates the lives of these fictional suicides, asking the question: What could be so wrong in a person’s life that suicide—although forbidden by the Jewish religion—would seem preferable?
Proceeding from the theoretical standpoint that the psychoanalytic process concerns narratives and their interpretations by an analyst, the author argues that the techniques of psychoanalysis may be fruitfully employed for the study of literature. Through sensitive psychoanalytic attention to narrative nuance, the author reaches surprising conclusions about the function of suicide for the characters she analyzes.