Category: Multiple


Multiple: Adaptation

When creating my bloxes it was very easy to choose what characters to include. I just used Frank Alpine and Morris Bober, the two major characters. However, while it was easy to choose what characters to focus on and depict, it was much harder to limit what characters I alluded to. I wanted my bloxes to be relatable to those who hadn’t read The Assistant. While, they may not get the story from my bloxes, I want them to get a sense of the characters. While I do create references to characters that one would only know from reading the book, I wanted to limit the reference to characters, so that the bloxes don’t look like a scramble of random images.

Once you have decided what characters to keep, Seger says to ‘look for character detail’. When creating this blox, I wanted to show that Morris Bober is more than just a stereotypical Jewish man. Yes, he uses a lot of yiddish and is extremely thrifty. But, there is more to him than that. He is like this because of the many setbacks he has gone through in life. When creating this blox I looked for the most important details that are crucial to understanding the character of Morris. I tried to show through the use of color versus black & white, that as you looked closer you saw more color, you saw that there is more to Morris. That, to use a cliche, there is more than meets the eye.

Multiple: blox

Multiple: Cornell

Morris Bober may seem like just another man walking down the street. But, he is constantly worrying about money, antisemitism, his dead son, and his living daughter.

Frank Alpine doesn’t draw much attention to himself as he aimlessly roams around town at the beginning of the story. But, he is really a man who was part of a robbery, grew up in a broken family, and wants a “normal” life.

Alice Feigel might just seem like another college-aged girl. But, she really likes spending time with her Grandparents, drives a station-wagon, and has no idea where she will be in two weeks.

Most people appear to be another “normal” person walking down the street. But, no one really is. We all have something interesting going on in our lives. Something, that would make the other person stop, who is walking past us.

For this blox, There is a picture of Morris Bober, repeated several times. Every time Bober appears again, the picture gets a little closer. Until you can finally see  the reflections in his glasses. In his glasses, there are pictures of his son, a swastika, and rotting tomatoes. This represents that every time you look closer at a person, you will find there is a lot more behind them, then what you originally thought. The pictures of Morris progressively get more and more colorful. The first picture is black and white. This represents our human instinct to just judge the person as we first see them. Everything just seems to be black and white. He is a cheap Jew. She is a homeless person drugs. But, people are not black and white. As we zoom into Morris we see him for his true colors.

Creating this blox was similar to a confessional for me. Just as Cornell used his boxes to create “visual communication with the self”. While, the blox has nothing to do with my inner thoughts. While creating this blox and thinking about the message behind it, it made me explore myself. What do people see when they first look at me? How do I appear to someone who has never met me? And who am I really? When I look at this blox I not only think of the struggles that Morris Bober went through, but also this time when I explored myself. Moris Bober is one of my favorite literary characters. He was a kind old man, who gave as much as he could, even to the detriment of himself. When I explored his character, it also helped me explore myself. I asked questions like “what do I see in Morris that I like so much?” “Do I see myself?” This blox is one of self-exploration for myself. While, the viewer might not learn about me. They will learn about what I value in a person. And hopefully, they will explore within themselves as well.

Multiple: Experience

There is more than meets the eye with Malamud’s The Assistant.

At the simplest level the story is about a struggling grocer and the assimilation of a stranger Frank Alpine into their Jewish lives.

However, Malamud explores many other subjects of antisemitism, big business, and women’s rights throughout the book. Malamud does not point out these subjects clearly to you. Instead he embeds them into the actions of the characters and the objects around them.

Morris is constantly worrying about the antisemitism of those around him. When the store space next door goes up for rent he is concerned another grocery store will move in, and that it will be owned by Germans. Malamud never states “because of antisemitism” but Morris has obviously had to deal with this all of his life and does not look favorably on Germans. In the blox the antisemitism is referenced by the reflection of the swastika in his glasses.

The books that are being read by the characters are one way in-which Malamud expresses the underlying desires and feelings of the characters. The books also help the characters discover things about each other.

One of Frank’s first observations of Helen is her books. When he sees her in the street, she is always carrying them. In a desperate attempt to talk to Helen, Frank “[mentions] the book he is reading” (88).  One night he goes to the library in hopes of seeing her, and fortunately she walks in. Helen notices Frank also and glances to see what he is reading. She is expecting to see Popular Mechanics, but instead he is reading a biography. Helen’s expectation to see Popular Mechanics, reveals her current thoughts of Frank. She guesses that he is just an uneducated man that is only interested in vocational skills. As she leaves for home, Frank catches up to her. As they walk along, she realizes “that there might be something more to him than she had imagined” (95). While, this change in feelings might have been developing for a while, she finally comes to the realization after she sees him reading a book.

The books create layers and dynamics for each character.