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The Assistant

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title ·  The Assistant

author ·  Bernard Malamud

type of work ·  Novel

genre ·  Modern American novel; Jewish-American novel

language ·  English

time and place written ·  Oregon, 1954–1956

date of first publication ·  1957

publisher ·  Farrar Strauss Giroux

narrator ·  Omniscient narrator

point of view ·  Third person, with narratives hat include the contents of certain characters' minds.

tone ·  Serious, with touches of irony in the Yiddish style

tense ·  Past tense

setting (time) ·  Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s

setting (place) ·  Brooklyn, New York

protagonist ·  Martin Bober

major conflict ·  Frank Alpine's struggle to control him self and be a good person

rising action ·  The robbery of the grocery store Frank's thefts in the grocery store Frank's rape of Helen Bober Morris Bober's illnesses

climax ·  Morris Bober catching Frank stealing and Frank's rape of Helen.

falling action ·  Morris Bober gives up on life and dies Frank Alpine symbolically becomes born again Frank Alpine takes over and manages the grocery store Frank Alpine learns to control his self

themes ·  father-son relationships transcendence of one's self The American dream

motifs ·  Saint Francis of Assisi Prison Yiddish speech patterns

symbols ·  flowers the novels that Helen gives Frank Milk

foreshadowing ·  Frank's role in the robbery Frank's stealing from the store Frank's voyeurism of Helen.