The Magic Barrel Questions and Answers

The Magic Barrel

By the end of "The Magic Barrel," Malamud has taken a young man closed off from the world by his studies, his nervousness, his desire to act in a traditional manner, and his preconceived ideas of...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 5:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Malamud's story abounds in symbol after symbol. I will touch on just a few. Salzman functions as a symbol of divine grace; he represents the spiritual. He is a mysterious figure, unearthly, bony...

Latest answer posted March 13, 2020 2:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Magic Barrel

One of the most obvious messages is the old one about not judging a book by its cover. The initially somewhat shallow and inexperienced Leo has an idealized image in his head as to what kind of...

Latest answer posted August 14, 2018 8:54 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Magic Barrel

Although not an outright supernatural tale, “The Magic Barrel” has elements of fairy tale magic. First of all, the title gives us a clue. The first hint that “The Magic Barrel” contains elements...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

There are several conflicts in the story. One of the main conflicts is the ongoing struggle that Leo has within himself in regards to his own nature. The process of matchmaking has left him...

Latest answer posted February 16, 2009 1:38 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In the story, there are some interesting clues that Salzman purposely leaves the picture of his daughter, Stella, in the portfolio he gives to Finkle. First, all six of the photos Salzman includes...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2018 11:28 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Magic Barrel

A brief summary is as follows: Leo Finkle is studying to be a rabbi. He decides he needs to get married, and consults a marriage broker named Pinye Salzman. The marriage broker sets him up with...

Latest answer posted November 7, 2008 9:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

The photograph of Stella "carries the impression, somehow, of evil." Could it be that Leo falls in love with the impression of evil? Is so, why? This story established early on that Leo came to God...

Latest answer posted July 9, 2010 2:12 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Leo Finkle's capacity for loving humans correlates directly with his capacity for loving God. Finkle realizes and ruefully acknowledges this correlation during and after a lengthy and uncomfortable...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2012 12:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Salzman is mourning when his daughter Stella and Leo fall in love because Stella is "a wild one - wild, without shame." Stella has apparently committed an act of depravation so grave that her...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2010 8:10 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

This story deals with a man trying to best understand himself and his place in the world. That position is tied to his religious beliefs, and his desire to be both a rabbi and a true man of God....

Latest answer posted December 31, 2007 12:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Bernard Malamud's "The Magic Barrel," I don't see Pinye Salzman as an allegorical figure. Leo Finkle is something of a Christ-like figure, sacrificing himself for the redemption of the "fallen"...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2012 5:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Salzman, the marriage-broker, has been in some way disappointed by his daughter, Stella. It is likely that he put the picture of her in the envelope for review by Leo in the hope that Leo would...

Latest answer posted October 30, 2016 8:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

“The Magic Barrel” is a fairy tale. It is intended both to poke fun at religion and to remind us of the true meaning of love. As in all fairy tales, the purpose is both to entertain and to teach...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2012 3:50 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Malamud's "The Magic Barrel," at the start of the story Leo Finkle wants to be a rabbi. He calls Salzman in to help as a matchmaker, a time-honored tradition (and an old-fashioned tradition) to...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2012 5:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Bernard Malamud’s "The Magic Barrel," the author hints at and foreshadows the ending at the beginning of the story. When the reader first meets Pinye Salzman, the marriage broker, his “amiable...

Latest answer posted December 27, 2019 12:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Great story!! Bernard Malamud's short story, "The Magic Barrel," is full of wonderful imagery and rich characters, most especially Leo Finkle, a rabbinical student, and Pinye Salzman, a Jewish...

Latest answer posted February 19, 2011 11:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Leo is disappointed and a little angry after his date with Lily because he feels that the matchmaker, Salzman, has misrepresented him to her. Lily is very interested in "how it was that (he) came...

Latest answer posted July 10, 2010 7:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

One literary device Malamud uses in "The Magic Barrel" is symbolism:Although it was still February, winter was on its last legs, signs of which he had for the first time in years begun to...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2008 12:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In the story, Leo Finkle (a soon-to-be graduate of a rabbinical school) is looking for a wife. He enlists the help of Pinye Salzman, a marriage broker. For his part, Salzman shows Finkle the...

Latest answer posted March 6, 2018 10:06 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

I think the entire story can probably be summed up in about 5 sentences. It is about a Jewish man named Leo, who has studied for 6 years to become a rabbi. He has not necessarily been interested...

Latest answer posted July 7, 2010 6:57 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Rabbinical student Leo Finkle seeks out Pinye Salzman, a matchmaker, in the hopes of finding a bride in the short story "The Magic Barrel." The reader starts out hopeful that Leo will find a...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2019 12:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Indeed he does. This can be seen in "The Magic Barrel" in the deck of pictures the matchmaker carries for display, and, especially, in the appearance of the picture of his daughter. If he...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2008 6:17 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Malamud's short story, "The Magic Barrel," the author does not present a "thesis." We can, however, discover the story's themes. A thesis is defined as... ...a proposition stated or put forward...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 6:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

When Malamud introduces the plot to the reader in "The Magic Barrel," the first thing he does is set the mood. Then he describes how Salzman and Leo Finkle come to know each other. Leo shares his...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 4:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

First of all, Leo is skeptical of the idea of a matchmaker. Keep in mind that he considered forgetting the matchmaker all together and wondered if he should simply try to find a wife on his own....

Latest answer posted July 7, 2010 6:53 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Leo does the things a good Jew is supposed to do. He attends a yeshiva, or religious school. He's planning to become a rabbi, or religious teacher. He has even hired a matchmaker to find him a...

Latest answer posted April 14, 2008 5:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Bernard Malamud’s “The Magic Barrel," Leo is a young rabbinical student who contacts a marriage broker, Salzman, because he does not have the time to meet a bride on his own. He reasons that...

Latest answer posted December 26, 2019 10:04 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Malamud's "The Magic Barrel," Pinya Salzman does seem to be a cynical trader in dreams, until the end of the story. Forever referring to his magic barrel, with an endless supply of unsuitable...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2012 3:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

The focal point of this story is Leo Finkle. He is the one who is searching for love and determined to start the next path of his life by finding the right love. Through him, readers are able to...

Latest answer posted March 30, 2008 7:57 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

The central character in Bernard Malamud's story, "The Magic Barrel," is a man named Leo Finkle. Leo has spent the past six years of his life studying to be a rabbi, and- two months before he is...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2013 3:48 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

This declaration comes at the end of the story, when Leo Finkle finally meets the woman he will marry, Stella Salzman. Their relationship helps Leo re-evalute his relationship with God and his...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2007 8:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Malamud's "The Magic Barrel," the author uses a number of devices to provide information about the main characters and drive the plot forward. An anecdote is an event that is told in a narrative...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2012 5:14 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

A matchmaker (sometimes more professionally called a "marriage broker") was a common profession especially in the Jewish faith. It is exactly what it sounds like. A matchmaker is a marriage...

Latest answer posted July 7, 2010 6:48 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

“The Magic Barrel” by Bernard Malamud is the story of a young rabbi-in-training, Leo Finkle. Leo, after six years of intense study, is about to be ordained and is hoping to lead his own...

Latest answer posted January 24, 2020 8:13 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

One approach for creating thesis statements that compare/contrast the stories "The Magic Barrel," "Where Are You Going, Where have You Been?", and "A Small, Good Thing," is to compare/contrast them...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2010 10:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

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...

Latest answer posted July 24, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

The short answer is, readers are never told how Stella's picture gets in. Salzman says it was an accident. As readers, we have two general choices: Salzman is telling the truth, and it is an...

Latest answer posted March 1, 2007 12:33 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Leo Finkle and Gurov both have trouble responding emotionally to others, especially women. Their emotional coldness has led to them not being able to form close relationships. Both do change in the...

Latest answer posted November 13, 2013 9:44 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Like so many works by Bernard Malamud, "The Magic Barrel" contains mystical references, as well as complex relationships and erotic symbolism. For instance, as soon as Salzman comes to his home,...

Latest answer posted December 23, 2019 4:20 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

In Bernard Malamud's “The Magic Barrel,” there are many examples that call to mind the supernatural, such as a witch or monster or angel, in Leo’s view of women. For instance, when Leo first meets...

Latest answer posted December 23, 2019 4:53 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Magic Barrel

Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of Bernard Malamud's "The Magic Barrel" is his use of a motif... ... a recurring subject, theme, idea...in a literary...work. The motif is one of magic. Not...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2012 4:02 am UTC

1 educator answer