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Annie Hall and Ethnic Humor

AnnieHall and Ethnic Humor

Self-hatredentails an extreme hatred or dislike of oneself. Self-hatred can alsobe utilized in describing a hatred or dislike of a group, socialclass, family, or stereotype to which a person belongs. As depictedin the EthnicHumor: Subversion and Survivalarticle, Jewish humor indicates self-hatred. For instance, there weregraphic stereotypes that depicted some bad traits of Jews (Boskin andDorinson 9). This being done by the Jews, somehow, representedself-hatred. However, not all Jewish humor indicated self-hatred. Forexample, through his comic strip, Abe was capable of representing theaspirations of Jewish middle class (Boskin and Dorinson 9). In themovie,Annie Hill,Woody Allen emerges as a self-hating Jew his humor shows that heidentifies as a self-affirming Jew in varied ways. Allen’s Jewishidentity emerges not only as a result of the Jewish-Americansociological, emotional, and intellectual experience but also asAllen’s complex personal experience. By examining his persona’sattitude towards his Jewish identity and limited informationconcerning his Jewish background, self-hatred is depicted as one ofthe most distinct characteristic of Allen. In different ways, Allendepicted self-hatred for instance, he was among the Jewish comediansand writers that laughingly carried the Jewish low comedy into everyavenue of popular culture. He was among the comedians who used oldstereotypes that Jews were identified with through the stereotypes,Allen identified with his group which he indicated as inferiorcompared to the American group. This is a depiction of self-hatredfor belonging to the Jews. This is also indicated in the movie, whereAlvy dines with the Hall family and thinks that they view him as aHasidic Jew having ear locks and a vast black hat. Besides,self-hatred becomes depicted through the perceptions of Annie andAlvy. In addition, in the movie, self-hate is depicted where Annieand Alvy seem to hate themselves because of their boring sex life.

Justlike in the article, where Jewish humor builds on its folk sourcesretaliations and comedy of revenge, still is the scenario in themovie, Annie Hall. There are different scenes in the movie thatindicate retaliation and comedy of revenge. One such scene entailsseeking of other partners after unsuccessful sex with earlierpartners. This is illustrated by Alvy and Annie falling in love in anattempt to get over their earlier relationships that turned out asunsuccessful. The urge of falling in love with another partner actsas a way of revenging for earlier relationships that they did notenjoy (AnnieHall Movie).This is still seen after the breaking up of the relationship betweenthe two. After Annie and Alvy broke up, Alvy tends to revenge thebreaking up by starting another relationship with Pam. Besides,revenge is indicated by Annie trying to find fault in Alvy this isindicated, where Annie accuses Alvy of spying her. This revenge leadsto them having a heated debate, which acts a way of Annie revengingfor herself after Alvy feels alienated in the presence of Annie’sfamily. On the other hand, there is a depiction of another scene ofsexual revenge, where Annie and Alvy revenge because of theirunsuccessful sex. This is indicated by Annie trying to take drugsafter sex although Alvy does not like it. Besides, frustrated bytheir sexual problems, they revenge by splitting up with each other(AnnieHall Movie).


Allen,Woody. AnnieHall Movie,1977.

Boskin,Joseph and Dorinson, Joseph. Ethnic Humor: Subversion and Survival.AmericanQuarterly, Vol. 37,No. 1, Special Issue: American Humor (Spring, 1985), pp. 81-97.Print.