"Marjorie Morningstar" is Herman Wouk's memorable coming-of-age story about the American daughter of Immigrant Jewish parents struggling to fit into the world of her peers. From the opening of the novel, where Marjorie's distinction between old-foreign (her parents, their accents) and new-foreign (Apartment buildings with fancy names overlooking Central Park), the reader understands that she wishes to be an All-American girl.
Marjorie begins the novel as a student at Hunter College, pursuing a sensible degree in education, for a career that her parents approve -- science teacher. But, what she really wants is to be an actress. She stars in the college musical that term, befriending Marsha, the costume designer (Jewish, but not practicing, socialist, experienced in far more areas than innocent Marjorie). Marjorie follows Marsha to South Wind, a commune-style theater "camp", where sex is prevalent. As the novel progresses, Marjorie travels from job to job, looking for artistic fulfillment and love, until eventually she marries the kind of practical man that her parents approve of.
The main Jewish influence in the novel is Uncle Samson Aaron. This uncle imparts wisdom to Marjorie and protects her from herself on several occasions. This novel is humorous and upbeat, yet, at the same time sad and thoughtful.
This report prepared by Samantha S.