The Assistant | Study Guide

Bernard Malamud

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The Assistant | Section 10 : Without Morris | Summary



After Morris passes away, things get harder for the store. Frank takes over while Ida and Helen are in mourning, eventually taking a night job to support all three of them and the failing grocery store. This effort makes Helen reconsider him as a person, and she forgives him. Frank decides to be circumcised and convert to Judaism.


In the aftermath of Morris's death, Frank is finally able to become the man he wants to be. He selflessly works around the clock, both at the store and at a second job to fund the store. He tries to introduce improvements, none of which provide lasting relief but do allow him to support the Bobers. He also completes his assimilation with the Bober family by fully taking on Morris's role in the neighborhood; the book ends just as it began, with Frank making the same sales Morris did to the same people. Although the book does not offer a clean narrative about people's ability to fully transcend the wrongs they do, it does suggest that with time and effort, we can find peace.

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