The Fixer Essay Research Paper In the

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The Fixer Essay, Research Paper In the novel, The Fixer, the author, Bernard Malamud, presents to us a poor Jewish handyman living in Russia during the early 1900’s, before the Russian revolution had begun. Destroyed by his wife’s disavowal, Yakov Shepsovitch Bok leaves his shtetl in search of opportunities for a better life. After a few months of desperate searching, Yakov sneaks out of the ghetto to look for work among the goyim. As he searches the streets, he stumbles upon a man who lay drunk on the floor. Yakov immediately recognizes a pin on the man’s coat as belonging to the anti-Semite organization called the Black Hundreds. Putting his doubts behind him, Yakov decides to help the fat Russian. Not aware of Yakov’s origins, the Russian offers him a job as a

reward. The job, however, requires him to live in a district prohibited to Jews. Out of desperation, Yakov agrees. Only a few months later, honest, hard-working Yakov, is caught. Authorities had found out he is a Jew. Less than a week before that, however, an awful murder had been committed and they accuse Yakov of being the murderer, when in fact the true killer is the young boy’s own mother. Yakov is charged with murder for religious purposes. They believe the Jewish community needed the blood to bake into the matzos for Passover as a symbol of the remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ. Yakov Bok is Jewish man in his early thirties. He describes himself as “ a fixer by trade, it’s a poorer trade than most, and formerly for a short time I was a soldier in the Imperial

Army. In fact, to tell you the truth, I’m not a religious man, I’m a freethinker.” He believes he has had such bad luck, that it is useless to pray to G’d, and therefore he is more of an atheist, or a freethinker, than he is a Jew. He states he is a Jew only “by birth and nationality,” though nobody understands what is meant by that. To the Russians he is legally a mere Jew. At one point Yakov says to himself “I’m Yakov Fixer… the kind of man who finds it perilous to be alive. One thing I must learn is to say less-much less, or I’ll ruin myself. As it is I’m already ruined.” During his first few months in prison, Yakov does not seem to get accustomed to the hardships. As time passes him by, however, he grows used to life in a prison cell, but it only gets

worst. As the novel unfolds, Yakov becomes extremely weak and thin and he looses the trifling faith that was still left in him. Throughout the novel, the main idea is very obvious. It is Yakov falsely accused of the murder of a young boy in order to drain his blood for the baking of the Passover matzos. The theme of anti-Semitism in Russia during the time of pogroms and of Tsar Nicholas the second is a universal theme presented to us as the book unravels. It is evident that if Yakov had not been born of the Jewish faith, he would not have been charged with the murder of Zhenia Golov. He was being used only as an example to the three million Jewish residents of Russia. He was being used as a warning. The meaning of the title The Fixer, chosen by Malamud, has a very literal

meaning, however it symbolizes a much more profound thought. Literally, the title only refers to the main character of the novel, who makes a living as a fixer, or handyman. It is a very simple title of a book about a very simple man who has been falsely accused of a very complicated murder. He was only “Yakov the fixer from a small town in Pale, an orphan boy who had married Raisl Shmuel and had been deserted by her.” Not a liar and a murderer of young children. He made the “stupid deception” of lying that his name was Yakov Ivanovitch Dologushev, instead of Yakov Shepsovitch Bok . This minute lie led him to land a job which in turn forced him to live in the Luskianovsky district which was prohibited to Jews. He unsuccessfully tries to convince the Prosecuting Attorney