The Assistant Topics for Discussion

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1. Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment was one of the books that influenced Malamud when he wrote The Assistant.

Frank reads Crime and Punishment at the suggestion of Helen Bober but does not like the book much. Why?

2. Malamud has admitted that Charlie Chaplin's character the little tramp had an impact on this novel. Does Frank Alpine resemble the tramp? To what extent?

3. Critics have seen Helen Bober as a rather divided person, torn between the desire to realize the American Dream of a successful life and the idealism of her father. Do you see Helen this way?

4. St. Francis of Assisi is possibly the most attractive of medieval saints. He has a generosity of spirit lacking in some other great ascetics. To what extent does Morris Bober resemble him?

5. Ward Minoque is a petty criminal who has none of Frank Alpine's aspirations to become a better person. Is...

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This section contains 315 words
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