Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Yakov Bok

Yakov Bok, a poor fixer, or handyman. A tall, nervous man with a strong back and work-hardened hands, this orphan—whose mother died in childbirth and whose father was killed not more than a year later in a pogrom, a mass destruction of Russian Jews—holds a pessimistic philosophy of life. Taught his trade at the orphanage, he was apprenticed at the age of ten and has, during his thankless life, served in the Russian army and taught himself Russian as well as some history, geography, science, and arithmetic. He considers himself a freethinker and professes no interest in politics. At the beginning of the novel, he feels trapped by his run-down village and lowly job. Even his wife has deserted him. Claiming that he wants his rewards now, not in heaven, he sells all he owns except for his tools and a few books, then journeys to Kiev to find new opportunities. In the city, his basic humanity embroils him in a series of events that lead to his being falsely accused of the ritual murder of a Christian boy. Escaping the symbolic entrapment of his village, he finds himself literally imprisoned for more than three years. During this period of physical and mental suffering, he fights to understand the reasons for his cruel and undeserved fate. Through reading, reflection, and dialogue with a few people with whom he has contact, this man who once hid his Jewishness comes to accept his irrational suffering as a means of identifying himself as a Jew and as a human being. No longer fearful, he concludes that his long-sought freedom is in truth a state of mind that must be pursued actively. At the novel’s conclusion, he drinks in the cheers of the crowds lining the streets as he goes to trial, a hero of the downtrodden. With a newfound spirit, he proclaims,...

(The entire section is 725 words.)

The Fixer Characters

"Yakov Shepsovitch Bok, the chief character, is a fixer, or handyman, conscious of his ignorance as well as his poverty but longing to better...

(The entire section is 500 words.)

The Fixer Character Analysis

The Fixer Father Anastasy

Father Anastasy is the priest who offers moral support to Marfa Golov. He is a priest of the Orthodox Catholic Church, and is considered a...

(The entire section is 141 words.)

The Fixer B. A. Bibikov

Investigating Magistrate for cases of extraordinary importance in Kiev, Bibikov is the person who questions Yakov after he is first arrested,...

(The entire section is 220 words.)

The Fixer Yakov Shepsovitch Bok

Yakov Bok, played by Alan Bates in the 1968 film adaptation of the novel, is unjustly arrested and incarcerated for murder. Published by Gale Cengage

Yakov is the "fixer" to whom the book's title refers. Thirty years old, he is despondent in the book's beginning because his wife has left...

(The entire section is 366 words.)

The Fixer Deputy Warden

The Deputy Warden is never called by name in this book, but he is Yakov's chief antagonist. His first words to Yakov are "Hello,...

(The entire section is 177 words.)

The Fixer Marfa Vladimirovna Golov

Marfa is the mother of the boy who was killed. She lives in a squalid little house near the backyard. The story that she tells the...

(The entire section is 183 words.)

The Fixer Other Characters

The guard who replaces Zhitnyak, Berezhinsky is an ex-soldier "with swollen knuckles and a broken nose."...

(The entire section is 1152 words.)