The First Seven Years Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Richman presents an overview of "The First Seven Years," calling it an illustration of Malamud's Jewish tales.

The initial tale in the collection, "The First Seven Years," might illustrate them all; for the opposition and final integration of Feld, the shoemaker, and Sobel, his assistant, is pure Malamud. The aged Feld is the real center of the story by virtue of the special moral demands imposed upon him. Like most of the protagonists in the stories, Feld must choose between alternate values; and the choice, made in terror and suffering, distinguishes finally the shoemaker from the mensch.

Like Morris Bober, Feld is in part the victim of his own goodness. Spinning daydreams out of the February snow, and agonizing over memories of his youth in a Polish shtetl, the shoemaker has sworn to create for his daughter Miriam a better life than he...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 973 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The First Seven Years Study Guide
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The First Seven Years from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.