The world suffers. He felt every schmerz

Calvino views lightness as a good quality.

So, does Malamud. Unfortunately, none of Malamud’s characters are able to experience lightness. They are all weighed down by the pressures of their lives. Instead Malamud uses light’s opposite, heaviness, to express the frustrations of his character’s lives.

Breitbart is a bulb peddler. He comes to visit Morris often to take a break from his exhausting day. Morris always pours him a cup of tea and offers him a place to sit. Bulbs are not heavy, they are very light. Malamud writes that all that holds the crates of bulbs together is clothesline. However, the man is weighed down by all of his bulbs. The characters cannot handle dealing with the day-to-day situations of life.

Morris is frequently concerned about how his business is bring in no money and lamenting over the death of his son many years ago.

Throughout the book, many characters, including Morris, describe his store as “a tomb”. They warn Frank Alpine to not start working there, because he will probably never leave.

Unlike Calvino’s depiction of lightness, where the man nimbly leaps over the tombstone, instead the Bober Family cannot jump over this tombstone. They are stuck in the tomb, weighed down by their economic situation and grief over the loss of a son. They are unable to set themselves free of the worries of the world.