The Assistant

Main Ideas

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.