What is the writer’s goal in "The Magic Barrel"? 

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

“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 a lesson.

One element of this fairy tale is magic.  The matchmaker appears out of nowhere most of the time, usually in the dark.

 The matchmaker appeared one night out of the dark fourth-floor hallway of the graystone rooming house where Finkle lived, grasping a black, strapped portfolio that had been worn thin with use. 

The matchmaker also has a magic barrel where he keeps all of the girls he wants to set up with Leo Finkle.  However, Leo is very shallow.

Leo ends up falling for the matchmaker’s daughter, a fallen woman, because she is beautiful.  The matchmaker intended this all along, because he still loved her even though she was dead to him.

Love will usually out.  In the end, Leo wants to marry Stella not because he loves her but because he wants her to love him.  They will redeem one another.