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Malamud was aware of social problems such as rootlessness, infidelity, abuse, divorce,...

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kc76384 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM via web

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Malamud was aware of social problems such as rootlessness, infidelity, abuse, divorce, but he believes in love as redemptive and uplifting sacrifice in "The Magic Barrel".

 

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted July 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM (Answer #1)

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Malamud's short-story "The Magic Barrel", collected in the National-Book-Award-winning collection of the same title, potrays the quest for love of Leo Finkle, a Jewish American studying to become a rabbi. He has immersed himself so much in his studies that he suddenly discovers his life to be empty and passionless. In addition, he also becomes aware that his search for God and his religious calling were not dictated by his love for God and fellow human beings, but by his indifference to them. Indeed, his love for Stella is defined as "his own redemption", that is a way to start a new and more positive life. This possibility of redemption seems to be in tune with Malamud's artistic credo that 

The purpose of the writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself. But without preachment. Artists cannot be ministers. As soon as they attempt it, they destroy their artistry.

Because of this progressive function that he credits the writer with, although Malamud stories include the social problems that you mention in your question as well as tensions between the characters, these are always reconciled to a certain degree by the end of his narratives.

 

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