The Assistant

by: Bernard Malamud

Important Quotations Explained

"God bless Julius Karp, the grocer thought. Without him I would have my life too easy. God made Karp so a poor grocery man will not forget his life is hard. For Karp, he thought, it was miraculously not so hard, but what was there to envy? He would allow the liquor dealer his bottles and gelt just not to be him. Life was bad enough."

Morris Bober thinks this quote in the first Chapter. Julius Karp, who owns the nearby liquor store, has been in his shop. Karp recently has hurt Morris Bober's business by leasing a shop he owns to another grocer. With the opening of the grocery in Karp's building, Morris's sales have plummeted. Despite his action, Karp still acts like he and Morris are good friends. In the first chapter, Karp visits Morris to ask Morris to call the police, because Karp suspects some people of wanting to rob him. Despite the fact that Morris feels angry toward Karp because of his actions, this quote demonstrates the capacity of Morris's large heart. Even against people who do wrong doing toward him, Morris has only compassion. In fact, Morris thanks God for placing Karp on earth so that Morris will be constantly reminded of the difficulties in life. Furthermore, although Karp is more financially successful than Morris, Morris would rather not be him because Morris sees no value in a meaningless life with profits made through selling alcohol. This quote helps to establish Morris Bober's strong moral character that plays an important role in the novel.