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The Magic Barrel Summary
Bernard Malamud

Everything you need to understand or teach The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud.

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The Magic Barrel Summary


Bernard Malamud's short story, "The Magic Barrel," was first published in the Partisan Review in 1954, and reprinted in 1958 in Malamud's first volume of short fiction. This tale of a rabbinical student's misadventures with a marriage broker was quite well received in the 1950s, and Malamud's collection of short stories, The Magic Barrel, won the National Book Award for fiction in 1959.

As Malamud attained a reputation as a respected novelist in the 1960s and 1970s, his short stories were widely anthologized and attracted considerable attention from literary students and scholars. A writer in the Jewish-American tradition, Malamud wrote stories that explore issues and themes central to the Jewish community. A love story with a surprising outcome, "The Magic Barrel" traces a young man's struggle to come to terms with his identity and poses the religious question of how people—Jews and others— may come to love God. Is...

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