The First Seven Years

by Bernard Malamud

Start Free Trial

What are Feld's hopes for his daughter Miriam and Max, the college boy?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Feld hopes that Max and Miriam will date and eventually get married.

In the story, Feld despairs that Miriam has no desire to further her education. He doesn't approve of his daughter working in an office with 'loud-mouthed salesmen and illiterate shipping clerks.' Feld thinks that Miriam's future would be brighter if she would just go to college. As a last resort to improve Miriam's prospects in life, Feld hits upon the idea of introducing Max to Miriam. After all, he appears to be a 'fine scholarly boy' and in Feld's mind, would make a more than adequate husband for Miriam.

Feld sets to work to convince Max that he will enjoy going out with such a pretty girl as Miriam. Initially unconvinced, Max requests to see a picture of Miriam, and Feld produces it for him. After looking at the picture, Max merely pronounces Miriam 'all right.' Although he is non-committal about the prospect of courtship, Max agrees to an initial meeting with Miriam. After the first date, Max and Miriam go out again before completely losing interest in each other's company. Feld's plans of Miriam marrying well is disappointed.

However, Feld soon discovers that there is another suitor for his daughter's hand: his faithful assistant, Sobel. Sobel asks to court Miriam, but the loving father is brokenhearted when he hears his assistant's request. He thinks that Miriam will never have a good life as a shoemaker's wife. However, he tells Sobel that he may talk to Miriam when she turns twenty-one. The story ends with Sobel working faithfully for Feld so that he can eventually win his lady love's hand in marriage.


See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial