Lesson 1 (from Chapter 1)
THE ASSISTANT by Bernard Malamud is set in New York in the early 1950s and takes place in a small Jewish enclave in an otherwise non-Jewish neighborhood.
1 - Class discussion: What is the setting for the novel? When does the story take place? How do you know? What interactions between the characters give you clues to the era of the novel? What was life like in the time and place the story occurs? What events and cultural changes were occurring in the time period described by the novel?
2 - Brainstorming: As a class, brainstorm a list of events that took place during the time period of the story. Then, discuss how these events might influence the opinions, attitudes, fortunes and misfortunes of the characters.
3 - Group work and presentation: Divide the class into groups of 3-4. Each group chooses a photograph, painting, or other visual...
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