A large part of The Assistant’s presence online is study guides.
Sparknote’s website is the first two search results.
(http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/assistant/context.html)

This accounts for the stories use in high schools and college as
required reading. I read the story in college in a Jewish-American
Literature Class. The story is good for classes because it uses many
classic story elements. The story is full of themes and motifs that
aren’t too hard to find. The characters are also well developed. And
Malamud uses lots of symbolism to develop the character. The books
they read and items that surround each character help to build the
character before the reader’s eyes.

These basic elements are a good example to students when learning
about literature.

Another popular result when you search this book is Malamud, himself.
Sparknotes, Wikipedia, and other sites tell you a lot about Malamud
and how his life influenced this book. Sparknotes talks about how
Malamud’s parents ran a small grocery when he was growing up and it
had direct influence on this story. Obviously, Malamud’s life of
growing up Jewish also strongly influenced the tale of a struggling
Jewish family.

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