Bernard Malamud Revisited: Portrait of the Post-Holocaust Jewish Hero in the Fixer


International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature



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International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature
E-ISSN: 2200-3452 & P-ISSN: 2200-3592 www.ijalel.aiac.org.au
ARTICLE INFO
Article history
Received: August 06, 2019 Accepted October 12, 2019 Published November 30, 2019 Volume 8 Issue 6 Advance access November Conflicts of interest None Funding None


Bernard Malamud Revisited Portrait of the Post-Holocaust Jewish Heroin the Fixer
35
because they set his imagination going and that when he narrates Jewish suffering, he has the suffering of all humanity in mind. Nevertheless, there are enough reasons and evidence both in his fiction and life disputing this claim to universality.
The other problem which is dealt within this study is regarding Malamud’s main characters. While popular interpretations of Malamudian fiction refer to his protagonists either as universal heroes or as schlemiels, it will be discussed that they can be best defined as time-bound Jewish heroes propitious for the post-Holocaust period, and congruent with the author’s unassimilated mind.
To discuss the concept of Jewish heroism in The Fixer, the researcher, first, in light of a truth-oriented historicist approach, explores some key facts regarding the life and beliefs of the author throughout his career which sets the background for this literary interpretation. Having asserted the Jewish concerns of the author, the researcher, then, through examining the main elements and characteristics of
Malamudian protagonist in The Fixer, argues that he does not reflect the real situation of Jews in postwar and contemporary America. He, rather, meets the needs of a generation haunted by victim mentality and devoid of heroism as well as a generation of Jewish immigrant children assimilated into the new culture and in danger of forgetting their tradition.
With that stated, the present study, first, will elaborate on the social, political, and cultural context within which the author has written then, it will study the life of the author, and finally it will situate the text within its historical and biographical background. In doing so, the following questions will be answered. Is Malamud a Jewish writer whose fiction mainly deals with Jewish concerns. Does the investigation of the historical and political context of Malamud’s time defy his claim to universality. Does the suffering that Malamud depicts in his fiction provoke a universally shared understanding of human suffering, or arouse emotion in the reader on miseries and pains of a particular group of people, the Jews. Is Malamud’s protagonist in The Fixer a schlemiel?


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