Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Discuss the importance of Saint Francis of Assisi in the text.
Morris Bober and Julius Karp are Jewish merchants on the same block. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two men.
Why does Helen Bober want to go out with Nat Pearl? What does he represent for her? Why does she ultimately reject him?
Suggested Essay Topics
The novel exposes both immigrants and their children as they strive for the American dream. In what do the children of the immigrants exercise their privileges differently from their parents. How has been born in American affected them?
Discuss the character of Ida Bober. Is she presented in a sympathetic or unsympathetic light? What is her importance in the novel's plot?
Helen Bober lends Frank Alpine copies of Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and Madame Bovery. How do the plots of these novels relate to that of the Assistant?
Bernard Malamud offers numerous reflections upon the nature of Judaism. Using references from the text, discuss Malamud's perspective on Judaism and discuss how it differs or is similar to other opinions on the religion.
The Bober's deceased son, Ephraim, is mentioned several times in the text. Discuss his significance in relationship to the character of Morris Bober.
The Assistant takes place in an immigrant community. Examine the speech patterns of five different characters from this community with attention to what their speech indicates about their ethnicity and level of education.
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