Grades: Middle and High School
Duration: Varies; about 20 minutes to discuss a single theme
This Teacher’s Guide opens up new avenues of approaching one of Pagis’s most well known poems. The themes suggested in the accompanying slideshow presentation (PDF) are based on an intimate linking of the four verses in Genesis that deal with Cain and Abel, and the poem itself. The teacher can choose to deal with as many or as few themes as suit the pupils and the teacher’s own objectives.
- Dan Pagis, an Israeli writer, was born in Bukovina, Romania in 1930. His early years were spent in a Nazi concentration camp in the Ukraine, formerly in Romania, from where he escaped. He immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1946 and taught medieval Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He became one of the most vibrant voices in modern Israeli poetry. His references to the Holocaust are sometimes oblique, filtered through his use of biblical or mystical images. He died in 1986.