Earlier I talked about how the ‘exactness’ of this piece had a lot to do with Malamud’s ability to realistically portray the struggles of immigrants. Seger devoted a whole chapter to finding a theme. I thought this blox did the best job of depicting Malamud’s overall theme. The only image that relfects on the story in this blox is the grocery store. However, I used images from online and my own family to show real immigrants. By tying in these historical images, I am expanding upon Malamud’s ability to realistically depict the struggles of immigrants from our country’s past.
Seger says that ‘the story choices the writer has made’ is one way to discover their theme. Obviously Malamud’s choice of writing about immigrants, not only in The Assistant but many of his other novels lays evidence that his main theme was the struggle of immigrants and the way they are treated. Narration is another way Seger says the theme can be discovered. The narration definitely lays a sympathetic view of the Bober’s struggles.
I wanted this blox to show the theme of the story. That it is about more than the Bober family. But about millions of immigrants throughout our nation’s histories who have suffered merely because of their country of origin.
This blox has a picture of my Oma, or Grandmother, just after she had moved to America. My Grandfather went over to Germany during WWII and there he met the beautiful, Waltraud Mueler. They were married in Germany and she flew to the United States, while he stayed behind to finish his service. She was picked up at the airport by his parents, whom she had never met and she could barely speak English. The few times I have heard my Oma tell this story, I have been impressed by her courage to leave behind her old life and start a new one. That is one of the reason’s I love Malamud’s stories so much. He tells stories of immigrants, who thanks to my Oma, I know had to have a lot of courage to do what they did.
The Bobers just moved out of their Jewish neighborhood into a non-Jewish section of Brooklyn. They left behind their friends and a sense of home; to an area full of antisemitism.
The picture of my Oma has been placed over a picture of a grocery store. I liked the idea that my Grandma has been put in Bober’s story. Anyone could be put in Bober’s story, we can all relate to the struggles of one family. I want the picture to show that all of our families have had struggles in the past, at one point, all of our families were immigrants.
To the Africans, Irish, Chinese, Japanese, and many others had to move from their homeland in search of the notorious American Dream. I included the Native Americans as well. Even though they didn’t migrate here, they were removed from their land sent off in search of a new land. They too experienced many hardships due to the European immigrants coming in.
I really like this box. Just as Cornell used other figures, usually famous actresses, to learn something about himself. I am using an image of someone other than myself, in hopes of learning more about my Oma and where my family came from. However, there is a little more connection because she is my Grandmother. While I do talk to my Grandma a lot, she is very cloaked in religion. It is very hard to talk to her about anything other than Jesus and you definitely can’t talk to her about life before Jesus because she is embarrassed of her past. So, while I feel I know her, I don’t. I liked the idea of using a figure that I should know really well. My Oma is a woman very close to me, and yet distant. I know exactly who she is and where she comes from. Who her children are and who her grandchildren are. However, I don’t know her past. I can’t imagine what it was like to grow up in Germany. I don’t know what it was like to move to a country you don’t know. And only return to your native country two more times in your life. I have to use Malamud’s stories to piece together an image of her past for myself.
Most of Malamud’s novels follow the struggling lives of immigrants, usually Jewish immigrants.
I like the description Wikipedia gives of Malamud’s writing style:
Malamud wrote slowly, and carefully, and was not prolific.
Malamud’s stories are not filled with cryptic, complicated analogies. Instead they are straight forward. Malamud wished to tell a story. Malamud wanted to recreate to the best of his ability the struggles of a class rarely recognized.
Malamud’s goal is to realistically portray the struggles of immigrants. And that is what drives forward his stories.
Calvino’s emblem for exactitude was a crystal because it refracts light. My emblem for exactitude was a compass because it guides you. Malamud’s The Assistant is a great example of both of these emblems.
The Assistant is reflecting the lives of immigrants to the reader. Rarely do we have pity for someone we might pass on the street, or no very little about. However, when we learn more about lives, their struggles, and who they are our concern for them grows. By realistically telling the story of a fictional family, Malamud is creating awareness about the struggles of Jewish Immigrants in the ’60s. Just a crystal precisely refracts light, so does Malamud reflect the lives of immigrants.
Just as I originally said, the compass not only guides you, but it is a source of information. Malamud’s novel exactly guides you right where he wants you. At the end of the novel, despite Frank’s deceit throughout the novel, you are happy that he has put aside his antisemitism and actually decided to convert to Judaism. Malamud includes facts not just about the struggles and day-to-day lives of immigrants but also creates sympathy for them as you read the novel.