The First Seven Years

by Bernard Malamud
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How does Miriam react to her second date with Max?

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After their second date, Miriam tells her father that Max doesn't interest her and she doesn't want to go on any other dates with him.

Max is a young man who's working on getting an education; Feld knows him and thinks highly of him which is why he wants him...

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After their second date, Miriam tells her father that Max doesn't interest her and she doesn't want to go on any other dates with him.

Max is a young man who's working on getting an education; Feld knows him and thinks highly of him which is why he wants him to meet his daughter Miriam. Max agrees and they go on a date. After the first date, Miriam isn't sure whether or not she's interested in Max.

On their second date, she comes back feeling disappointed in her time with him. She discusses the date with her father and tries to explain why they didn't hit it off. Bernard Malamud writes:

"Because he’s nothing more than a materialist."
"What means this word?"
"He has no soul. He’s only interested in things."

Max and Feld don't discuss Miriam again. Feld eventually comes to realize that his assistant, Sobel, is in love with his daughter. Though Feld wanted a better life for her than the life of a shoemaker's wife, he agrees that Sobel can discuss marriage with her in two years when she's twenty-one.

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Miriam does not show any enthusiasm about her second date with Max. In fact, she tells Feld that she was bored during the date. Feld is disappointed that his plans for Max and Miriam to marry seems to be falling apart.

Although Miriam confesses that she thinks Max too materialistic for her tastes, Feld feels that she is too inexperienced to gauge the true quality of a man. He imagines that Max can't have been blind to Miriam's beauty and must therefore, want another date. He prods his daughter for further information, but she insists that she will not accept another date from Max even if he asks.

Feld had placed high hopes on Max winning his daughter's hand. Although Max is not studying to be a doctor or lawyer, Feld has come to understand that a Certified Public Accountant still commands a certain prestige in society. So, when Max takes a different route to school, bypassing Feld's store completely, the shoemaker is crushed; he finally realizes that the young man will never be his son-in-law.

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