Of Love and War: Poles and Jews in Rutu Modan’s The Property

Brygida Gasztold

Stereotypes may be reductive and emotionally charged but, as shared inter-group perceptions, they are an integral part of any social interaction, especially in the history of neighboring groups such as Jews and Poles. Rutu Modan’s graphic novel The Property (2013) offers a broad range of stereotypical behaviors, characterizations, and attitudes which have informed the relationship between the two groups. The aim of this paper is to explore the nature of Polish-Jewish relations through the trope of the stereotype, revealing its persistence and ubiquity in both nations’ cultural milieus. The focus of the discussion will be on humor and irony as key discursive tools which, it will be argued, challenge the validity of stereotypes by breaking their polarity and opening up new avenues of communication. A stereotype-driven narrative, which challenges the past and invites re-readings of Holocaust discourse, facilitates cross-cultural awareness since stereotypes work both ways, revealing not only one’s prejudiced perspective of other groups, but also the perceiver’s character.
Słowa kluczowe: cultural stereotypes, irony, Polish-Jewish relations

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