Where is the direct characterization in "The Jewbird" by Bernard Malamud?

There is direct characterization in "The Jewbird" by Bernard Malamud in the description of Maurie as "a nice kid though not overly bright." This is a classic example of direct characterization, as the author is revealing specific traits about the character in a direct, straightforward manner.

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Malamud's use of direct characterization in relation to Maurie is particularly appropriate. He is described as "a nice kid, though not overly bright," which is a pretty fair description under the circumstances. In works of literature, such direct characterization tends to work best for those characters who are relatively simple and straightforward. Ten-year-old Maurie, a pleasant young boy who doesn't do very well at school, would seem to fall into this category. Truth be told, he's too young to earn the privilege of the kind of indirect characterization reserved for the much more interesting character of the eponymous Jewbird, Schwartz.

Schwartz's description of Maurie—"He's a good boy...but a scholar he'll never be"—is yet another example of direct characterization. Maurie has been very kind to the bird, and yet Schwartz repays his kindness by being rather snarky about him. Still, Schwartz does at least help the young boy with his schoolwork and is largely responsible for a noticeable rise in Maurie's grades, helping him reach the giddy heights of a C-minus average.

This contrast between the unusual talking bird and the nice but now awfully bright young Jewish boy generates an interesting dynamic at the heart of the story, and which to a large extent takes the place of the relationship between Maurie and his father Harry, who is neither willing nor able to help his son with his schoolwork.

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