The Magic Barrel Essay

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In the following excerpt, Hoffer identifies parallels between the first five books of the Old Testament and the structure of the story, arguing that Finkle is a "sinner" rather than a hero.

No synopsis is a substitute for ["The Magic Barrel"]. One is given here in case you have not read the story for some time.

Leo Finkle, a rabbinical student, hears that he may have a chance at a better position if he is married. He approaches Salzman, a poverty-ridden matchmaker who smells of fish, who wears old clothes, and whose suggested brides are not shall we say big winners. After rejecting the few suggested by Salzman, Leo finds a picture in the file of a different girl and immediately falls in "love." The picture is of Salzman's daughter and the story does not make clear whether the picture is there by mistake (as Salzman says) or...

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This section contains 5,013 words
(approx. 13 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Magic Barrel Study Guide
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The Magic Barrel from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.