The Assistant Character Analysis Essay Research Paper

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The Assistant: Character Analysis Essay, Research Paper The Assistant: Character Analysis The Assistant is a novel written by Bernard Malamud. It is a story set during the Depression. This story involves several key characters. The two protagonists are Frank Alpine, a drifter, and Morris Bober, a Jewish grocery store clerk. Morris’ wife Ida and daughter Helen are also heavily involved in the story. Frank Alpine is the protagonist of The Assistant. He is a typical Malamud character. Frank is real and memorable. Malamud knows this character well, like he knows all his characters, and he keeps them free of theatrics and sentimentality. These qualities add to the character’s sense of realism and simplicity. Frank is looking for a new life and finds it on the East Coast. It is

there where he becomes a criminal. Frank and his friend Ward Minogue break into a grocery store, attack the aged clerk, and rob him. This is where we find Frank at the novel’s opening. He is not a good person, he is a criminal; but he feels guilty about his short life as a criminal. Frank wants atonement for his sin and he feels the only way to achieve it is to work for the man he robbed. Morris Bober, the clerk, finds Frank living in his basement. Frank has been stealing milk and rolls for sustenance. Morris gives Frank a job as his assistant, which starts Frank’s character growth. He does not become a good person right away. Frank steals from the register and even watched Morris’ daughter, Helen, take off her clothes in the bathroom. However, character change takes time

and Frank is willing to do what he must to change. Living with an honest Jewish family is a great influence on him. He works hard in the store when Morris is not feeling well. Frank Alpine defeats himself after he has gained so much. One night Frank and Helen meet in the park. Helen is early and finds herself confronted by a rapist. Fortunately, Frank arrives in time to fight off the attacker but he ruins things for himself by picking up where the rapist left off. Again Frank seeks atonement for his sin. Morris has passed away and Frank sacrifices himself for the Bobers. He takes over all the responsibilities of the store and works off his sins against the family. Frank could be seen as anything but a hero. He lacks the virtues that a hero should have and instead has virtues of a

villain like cowardice, ignorance and, dishonesty. Malamud dispels this image by creating greatness from within Frank. He evokes sympathy from the readers and succeeds in creating a hero in Frank. Morris Bober is the other protagonist in The Assistant. He is a Jewish shopkeeper, an old man, and a good man. The grocery business is his life; he rarely leaves the store. Morris is a decent man. His calmness and inner peace are his only qualities that let him survive. He endures all the misery that befalls him. The poverty and the desperation around him do not change his steadfastness and honesty. The grocery store is Morris’ destiny. He could have sold it but he let that opportunity slip away. Any opportunity for change he let slip away. He let them pass because he wanted them to

pass. Morris sees the store as his tomb but he cares for it and would not want to miss it. The best way to understand Morris’ character is by observing how he reacts to the people and events around him. When he finds Frank in the basement, he willingly gives Frank food and shelter. When Morris begins to understand what kind of person Frank really is, Morris doesn’t give up on him. Instead, he tries to transform Frank into a better person. He tries to bring out the good in Frank that he knows is there. Morris fires Frank when he finds out Frank was stealing from him. He doesn’t do this out of anger, but out of disappointment. Morris helps Frank more than he knows. He offers Frank spiritual guidance and assistance on matters of humanity. Morris does this with subtlety, so