Linda Seger says that one of the most important parts to adapting a book is finding the conflict. And Malamud does that very quickly.
The story immediately goes into the struggles of Morris Bober and his family. You read about Morris’ day-to-day struggle with simply running his store. But, the conflict gets even worse, before it gets a little better. In the second chapter, Morris is robbed and hit in the head. He can no longer work. The story jumps right into the conflict. The conflict in the story mostly centers around Frank and the Bober’s struggle to get through life. I focused on this struggle for my blox. They are all trying to balance together and figure it out.
The Assistant follows the journey of Frank Alpine from robber to Jew. Frank is not perfect, and along the way you watch him make mistake after mistake, until he is finally able to mature and devote himself to Judaism. Seger recommends that when your story follows someone on a journey, you should find the middle of the story first. She wants you to answer the questions ‘What happens to my character?’ and ‘How is my character changed?’ That is very simply done in The Assistant. Frank Alpine is changed into a Jew at the end of the story. His character wants to be an honest person with morals. The story follows his struggle to leave the past behind. The Bober family comes along for the journey, and is forever changed, not always for the better, due to Frank Alpine being in their life. Seger says that journey stories can be the hardest to adapt. For this blox, I focused on the fact that we are on a trans-formative journey. Frank Alpine, as represented by a bird because of his love of St. Francis, is flying along with the Bobers. Together they are trying to stay on the path together and get through life.