“I am quite tired of the colossallydeceitful devaluation of man in this day. … The devaluation exists because (humanity) accepts it without protest”
Bernard Malamud was born on April 26,1914, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were not highly educated and knew very little about literature or the arts. He liked to read and to attend a local Yiddish theater. He began to try to write stories of his own. Malamud attended high school in Brooklyn and received his bachelors degree from the City College of New York in 1936.
Although he wrote in his spare time, Malamud didnot begin writing seriously until hearing of thehorrors of the Holocaust, when the Germans, ledby Adolf Hitler . In 1942, Malamud met Ann De Chiara, an Italian- American Roman Catholic, and a 1939 Cornell University graduate. They married on November 6, 1945, despite the opposition of their respective parents. Ann typed his manuscripts and reviewed his writing. Ann and Bernard had two children, Paul and Janna. Janna Malamud Smith is the author of a memoir about her father, titled My Father is a Book.
Writing careerThe Natural • Traces the life of Roy Hobbs, an American baseball player. (1952) • The book has mythic elements and explores such themes as initiation and isolation. The Magic • It was awarded the National Book Award in 1959.Barrel (1958) The Fixer • It is one of his most powerful works. This book is based on the historical account of Mendel Beiliss, a Russian Jew who was accused of murdering a (1966) Christian child.
Writing careerDubins • It tooks Malamud over five years to write, the main character, William Dubin, Lives attempts to create a sense of worth for himself, both as a man and as a writer.(1979) Gods • He studies both the original HolocaustGrace and a new, imagined Holocaust of the future.(1982)
Literacy focusRevelation and EpiphanyA point at which a character comes to seesomething with a deep understanding. Thecharacter may achieve self-knowledge or adeeper knowledge of another character;relationships between characters may becomeclear; the meaning and implications of anevent may take shape.
The First Seven Years SummaryThe story is about Feld, a Jewish shoemakerwho seeks a suitable husband for his daughterMiriam. But she is not interested in his choiceof Max, a college student. Feld soon discoversthat his assistant, Sobel, a Polish Jewishrefugee, is in love with Miriam, and that shereturns his affections.
Miriam sees spiritual qualities in Sobel, butFeld is dismayed because he wants her to dobetter for herself. Feld is faced with a moralchoice: will he allow Sobel to wed Miriam? Canhe put his daughter’s feelings above what hethinks is appropriate for her?
Can he learn to see in Sobel what Miriam seesin him? In the climax of the story, Feld tellsSobel that if he works for two more years,making seven in all, he can ask Miriam for herhand in marriage.
Theme• The Material v. the Spiritual Although Feld wishes the best for his daughter and wants her to find a husband who can provide her with a better life, he takes account only of material values. He thinks of himself as a practical man, which is why he favors Max as a husband for Miriam. Max is studying to be an accountant, developing knowledge of financial matters. But that is all he is interested in. He has no depth. Miriam is soon aware of this, and tells her father that Max has ‘‘no soul.’’
Theme• Irony The father wants something better for his daughter, that is why he sets up a date with Max. Miriam wants to marry Sobel, who cant give her a better life. Miriams life will then end up being just like her Parents.
Symbolism• During the prelude of the story Feld is annoyed by Sobels "fanatic pounding at the other bench”. The continuous pounding of Sobels hammer symbolizes the strength of Sobels love for Miriam.• For years Sobel silently exhibits his love by working hard at a very low salary. As Sobel is "pounding with all his might upon the naked last“ he shows his frustration for his plight. Not only will he not be a suitable husband in Felds eyes, Feld never even recognizes the bond being established by the couple through their books.• Later in the story Feld admits his awareness of Sobels feelings, but does not want to face the prospect that Sobel might become Miriams suitor.
Jig saw readingRead each paragraph in groups. (one paragraph per each group)