The Magic Barrel | Critical Essay by Richard Reynolds

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of The Magic Barrel.
This section contains 927 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
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SOURCE: "'The Magic Barrel': Pinye Salzman's Kadish," in Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. X, No. 1, Winter, 1973, pp. 100-02.

In the essay below, Reynolds comments on the meaning of the prayers for the dead that Salzman chants at the conclusion of "The Magic Barrel."

Published analyses of Bernard Malamud's "The Magic Barrel" praise the "richly ambiguous" conclusion. The consensus is that to reduce the story to specific meaning is to do the author an injustice. Perhaps, however, an interpretation may be sustained that points to a consistent moral thread.

Pinye Salzman is, as Professor Bellman suggests [in "Women, Children and Idiots First: The Transformation Psychology of Bernard Malamud," Critique (1965)], "almost supernatural." The title of the story supports that. What exactly is a magic barrel? Apparently Malamud did not have a specific analogue in mind, but the concept is quite clear; it is a barrel which produces...

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This section contains 927 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Richard Reynolds
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Literature Criticism Series
Critical Essay by Richard Reynolds from Literature Criticism Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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