Identity through the
Realization of Prejudice:
Carolyn Meyer's Drummers
Tanna M. Gartsideand Kristen Sternberg
Growing up in the nineties is challenging for all adolescent girls, but for Jewish girls the challenge may be greater. As Kaplan ( 1994) says, "Just as they are coming to terms with who they are emotionally, they often must come to terms with who they are spiritually. Many Jewish teenagers are forced at a young age to define who they are in reference to everyone else" (287). Pazit Trujillo, protagonist in Drummers of Jericho, exemplifies this identity dilemma. Pazit, age 14, expected to have a better life in the southern United States town of Jericho with her father, her stepmother, Ellen, and her stepbrothers, Brian and Matt, ages 4 and 6. Pazit and her natural mother had been in conflict for so long that she was not feeling the least bit guilty about leaving Denver and her mother's home. She had come to the new town expecting to have many friends, get to know her father and his new family, do well academically, play in the band, and enjoy a normal high school lifestyle. Instead, her Jewish faith quickly brought her into conflict with the town's Protestant fundamentalism. Pazit's optimism ends abruptly as she becomes the target of religious prejudice that forces her to examine her beliefs and values. In the transition, Pazit learns to come to terms with her own identity and realizes that her faith is more important to her than her petty conflicts with her mother. She returns to her mother's house having learned much about herself.