The Assistant

by: Bernard Malamud

Important Quotations Explained

"She pictured him in nice clothes, his hair cut shorter, maybe his nose straightened, speaking a more careful English, interested in music and literature, learning about politics, psychology, philosophy; wanting to know more the more he knew, in this way growing in value to himself and others."

This quote describes Helen's thoughts in chapter four. After the beginning of her courtship with Frank Alpine, she starts envisioning him and their future life together. This quote demonstrates Helen's inability to see Frank truly for who he is. Helen long has held to a certain image of whom she would want to marry and after meeting Frank she tries to push him into this image, rather than loving his own true nature. As such, Helen wants Frank to attend university and clean himself up, so as to be consistent with her desire for a professional husband. Helen's dreaming demonstrates her inability to truly love another such as Frank Alpine, because of her own intellectual agenda.