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Earning a livelihood had been a spur to productivity since her teenage years, and these responsibilities continued to impel Hobson in the writing of Gentlemans Agreement.
Despite the fact that Gentlemans Agreement rarely receives more than a line or two of mention in scholarly accounts of postwar Jewish literature, it is a text that ably demonstrates the power that popular novels wield in shaping cultural sensibilities.
One could argue that the public square has been at least as shaped by more popular works, such as Gentlemans Agreement.
Laura Hobson, Gentlemans Agreement (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1947), 34.
Mashey Bernstein makes this point about Gentlemans Agreement.
As Matthew Frye Jacobson has observed, Gentlemans Agreement "offers a unique snapshot of the contest in the mid-twentieth century between a waning racial order that identified Jews as 'Semites' or 'Hebrews,' and the waxing order by which their status as 'Caucasians' would become more salient" (Matthew Frye Jacobson, "Becoming Caucasian: Vicissitudes of Whiteness in American Politics and Culture," Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 8, no.
This method of responding to anti-Semitism came under fire by several rabbis who gave sermons on Gentlemans Agreement during the 1940s, inspiring their own efforts to educate Americans about the distinctiveness of Judaism.