What is the summary of Bernard Malamud's "Take Pity"?What is the heroines' protrayal in the light of feminist ideals?

Expert Answers
dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Bernard's Malamud's "Take Pity", Davidov, a census taker, visits the shabby room of Rosen, an elderly former coffee sales representative.  He has come to determine the nature of Rosen's relationship with Eva Kalish, the widow of a bankrupt immigrant Jewish grocer who had the misfortune of dying at Rosen's feet.  Rosen has taken it upon himself to help the grocer's widow, but his offers of aid are met with consistently proud refusal.  Rosen advises Eva to abandon her efforts to try to salvage the store, telling her it is in a bad neighborhood and is a "mistake"; secretly in love with the widow, Rosen offers her credit, a rent-free apartment, and help with childcare, but Eva is adamant in her refusals.  The old man then proposes a platonic marriage, with his sole objective to be able to take care of Eva, but when even that offer is rebuffed, he drafts a will deeding all he has to her, and kills himself by sticking his head in the stove and turning on the gas. 

When she passes his coffin, Eva is repentant, but Rosen, in a surrealistic twist, calls her a whore from his coffin window and tells her to go away. 

The story presents an ironically tragi-comic portrayal of the heroine, who has taken the ideals of feminism too far.  In her insistent, single-mindedly proud refusal to be condescended to by a man, she has missed out on the chance of a relationship with someone who truly cared for her, and denied him the opportunity to experience the joy of community and sharing.

hbkhbk | Student

Take pity is a story of heroic struggle of a Polish woman Eva. Eva is a sorrowful woman in the story. She is a dignified and self reliant woman. She is a widow and does not have any other relatives. She is brave and courageous.

Although her life is full of difficulties, yet she does not accept help in the form of charity. She alone faces all the kinds of hardship of her life. Rosen wants to marry her but she turns down his proposal.

She a woman of iron will. She does not give in before the circumstances. She starts her store. Once, Rosen brings a nice piece of meat for her hungry daughters but she does not like it. She refuses to marry him because it is not on the base of love.

Her sense of pride deeply hurts when she comes to know that Rosen is ready to give his property to her and her daughters. All of it shows that Eva for cause of women and for all human beings who want to live with high values.

joannepegina | Student

Are you one of my students in Litt102e Literary Criticism?

If you are, you are not suppose to ask it to anyone else..you should work hard on it and don't rely with internet answers in order for you to finish the occasional paper that i have given you. Please bear that in mind.

Read the study guide:
Take Pity

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question