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Unformatted text preview: Malamud's fiction is usually organized around moral dilemmas and crises of growth. He combines realism and symbolism, as well as tragedy and comedy, often with the help of mythological and archetypal underpinnings. He employs fantasy that is occasionally supernatural but which more often, as in The Assistant , gives realistic happenings a quality of magic and ritual. From his Jewish background, Malamud derives a bitter humor that often appears in the self-mockery of his characters but it is also forgiving of the self and others. His compassionate poetic sensibility blends with a sense of grace achieved through suffering. Malamud has declared that "All men are Jews," doubtless a metaphor for the universality of alienation, suffering, and the moral compulsion for men to make the very best of their lives within the limitations and ambiguities of human existence. for men to make the very best of their lives within the limitations and ambiguities of human existence....
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