Bernard Malamud Revisited (Twayne's United States Authors - download pdf or read online

By Edward A. Abramson

ISBN-10: 0805776419

ISBN-13: 9780805776416

E-book by means of Abramson, Edward A.

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Extra resources for Bernard Malamud Revisited (Twayne's United States Authors Series)

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Malamud's depiction of their relationship also can be seen in terms of Buber's philosophy: "When a man loves a woman so that her life is present in his own, the You of her eyes allows him to gaze into a ray of the eternal You. " (Buber, 154). From climbing up the air shaft to look at Helen naked in the bathroom, Frank moves toward a feeling of love for her. He does rape her, however, and one may question Malamud's treatment of this as a sign of Frank's starved love and a result of Helen's having wrongly rejected him: "A Malamudian irony: Helen is able to love Frank The Assistant 35 only until he makes love to her; the fact debauches the illusion" (Baumbach 1963,454).

The question arises as to the price Malamud exacts for Frank's redemption. Philip Roth thinks that the price is too high and the method by which this redemption is achieved unjust: "But oh how punitive is this redemption! We might almost take what happens to the bad goy when he falls into the hands of the good Jews as an act of enraged Old Testament retribution visited upon him by the wrathful Jewish author—if it weren't for the moral pathos and gentle religious coloration. . ,"13 Like Yasha Mazur at the close of Isaac Bashevis Singer's novel The Magician of Lublin, Frank has chosen entombment as being necessary for his redemption; he is as much a prisoner in the store, slaving his life away for Ida and Helen, as Yasha is in his cell.

Of course he cannot escape from those events, and his attempts to do so show that he has not learned from them. He remembers "how satisfied he had been as a youngster, . . and he wished he could have lived longer in his boyhood" (TN, 119). Roy's obsession with the past comes to a head in a surrealistic scene in which he fantasizes that Memo destroys his youth, with its dreams and innocence. Memo is driving at night without lights, and Roy thinks he sees a boy and his dog on the country road on which they are speeding.

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Bernard Malamud Revisited (Twayne's United States Authors Series) by Edward A. Abramson


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