Bernard Malamud Long Fiction Analysis - Essay

Bernard Malamud Long Fiction Analysis

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In The Natural, Iris Lemon tells the protagonist that all people have two lives, “the life we learn with and the life we live with after that. Suffering is what brings us toward happiness.” Although her statement requires qualification, it is a suggestive summary of the major theme of Bernard Malamud’s work: the journey toward a new life, a journey marked by suffering, which may or may not be redemptive. In fact, however, Malamud’s characters usually have three lives: one from which they have not learned and that they are attempting to leave behind, a life the reader sees in flashbacks and confessions as well as in brief opening scenes; a middle life, the learning life, which is the substance of the books; and the...

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