《店员》中弗兰克的心灵重塑 The Reestablishment of Franks Soul in The Assistant毕业论文
The Assistant is the masterpiece of Bernard Malamud, one of America’s most eminent Jewish writers. The novel mainly illustrates a story that under the influences of the Jewish grocery-owner Morris Bober and his daughter Helen Bober, the Italian assistant Frank Alpine successfully completes the transition from a criminal and thief to a conscious “Jew” willing to suffer. Through shaping the image of Frank, the author compliments the Jews who, although suffering the misfortunes and torments of life, still persist in their moral integrity, of whom Morris is the representative. The paper mainly applies Freud’s theory of personality structure to interpret the process of the reestablishment of Frank’s soul, and analyzes the great influences of Morris and Helen on the reestablishment of Frank’s soul, and the author’s purpose for displaying the reestablishment of Frank’s soul, aiming to explore the Jews’ cognition and apprehension of morality in the Jewish culture, raise practical suggestions for us to promote personal morals, to form right and reasonable concept of love.
Key Words: The Assistant; reestablishment of soul; influence
1 Introduction 1
2 The Journey of Frank’s Soul: from Degeneration to Rebirth 4
2.1 The Degeneration of Frank’s Soul 4
2.2 The First Repentance of Frank’s Soul 5
2.3 The Disorientation of Frank’s Soul 5
2.4 The Second Repentance of Frank’s Soul 6
2.5 The Repeating Sinking of Frank’s Soul 7
2.6 The Rebirth of Frank’s Soul 8
3 The Reasons for the Reestablishment of Frank’s Soul 9
3.1 The Influences of Morris Bober 9
3.2 The Influences of Helen Bober 10
4 Malamud’s Purposes for Displaying the Reestablishment of Frank’s Soul 12
4.1 The Purpose for Praising the Jewish Moralities 12
4.2 The Purpose for Showing the Theme of Suffering 12
The Reestablishment of Frank’s Soul in The Assistant
Bernard Malamud, as one of the most prominent and well-known Jewish-American writers, has contributed numerous literary works reflecting the Jewish culture to the whole world, of which the novel The Assistant is a masterpiece (Zhao, 2006). It is said that most of his literary works reveal the common destiny of human beings through displaying the fate of the Jews. As an writer full of realism and humanism, Malamud pays much attention to the living conditions and moral pursuits of the Jews (Zhao, 2011). Under his pen, the Jews are depicted as a particular group — although their life is usually full of kinds of misfortunes and sufferings, they still insist in their moral integrity and abide by the laws instead of carrying out any crime or dishonesty (Wang, 1983). Therefore, studying Malamud’s literary works will be conducive for one to learn something valuable from the Jews, to cultivate the correct moral codes and to become a selfless and conscious person.
The novel The Assistant, firstly published in 1957, is a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Zhang, 2009). It primarily tells the readers such a story: the grocery-owner Morris Bober is a benevolent and obliging Jew who comes to America for the purpose of getting rid of czar’s conscription and pursuing a new life. He is always willing to lend others a hand and do good deeds. In addition, he toils almost every day in his store; however, his family still lead an extremely poor life and his business is almost on the verge of bankruptcy. The store is just like a “long dark channel”, “tomb”, “prison” for him and he sees almost no hope. Under the heavy burdens of life, his daughter Helen is also forced to give up the college education and take up a job she dislikes to support the family. Later, an Italian vagrant called Frank Alpine becomes the assistant or clerk of the store. It seems that the business of the grocery has been improving since his coming. Besides, Frank falls in love with Helen who is also gradually moved by him and accepts his love. However, with days passing by, it finally proves that Frank is a criminal who once robbed Morris, and he is a thief often stealing money and food from the store. Morris, after having known the truth, drives Frank away. Then Frank rapes Helen in great desperation. Afterwards, Morris dies, leaving his wife and daughter to stand on their own feet. At the same time, Frank, having been conscious of his guilt and determined to make amends, voluntarily takes up the responsibility and obligation of taking care of the business of the store and supporting Helen’s family. At last, Frank successfully becomes a virtuous Jew like Morris, and the reestablishment of his soul is also proved to be successful.