Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Though it deals with purely imaginary events, Malamud tells his story in the straightforward manner of literary realism. The language and grammar are those appropriate to someone of Manischevitz’s background because, though the story is told in the third person, Manischevitz is clearly the center of consciousness, and the dialect in the story is his. This is an appropriate method, as it enables the reader to reach his own determination as to whether he is reading of an episode imagined by this broken old man or whether the event occurred as reported. In the final analysis, it makes little difference, as Malamud’s theme does not rely for its effectiveness on the “reality” of the situation so much as on the reader’s understanding of the humanizing quality of faith.