“Angel Levine,” part fable and part fantasy, is yet another example of Malamud’s brotherhood theme. The New Yorker Manischevitz, a typical Malamudian Job-like victim, seeks relief from his suffering and aid for his sick wife, Fanny. In the Malamudian world, help comes from human rather than divine sources, represented here by a Jewish black man/angel, Angel Levine. Manischevitz can only wonder why God has failed to send him help in the form of a white person. The tailor’s subsequent refusal of aid, which is saturated with egotistical pride, fails to lead to relief.
Eventually, Manischevitz, in pursuit of aid, roams into Harlem, where, finding Angel Levine in Bella’s bar, he overhears the essential Malamudian lesson about the divine spark in all people: “It de speerit,” said the old man. “From de speerit arize de man. . . . God put the spirit in all things.”
Colorblind at last, Manischevitz can now believe that the same spirit dwells within every human, uniting all. Manischevitz is rewarded by the sight of a dark figure flying with dark wings. The final meaning of his experience he conveys to Fanny when he admits, “Believe me, there are Jews everywhere.” Here he is Malamud’s raisonneur mouthing the familiar theme of brotherhood.