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The Assistant | Study Guide

Bernard Malamud

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The Assistant | Section 7 : The Store Struggles | Summary



The morning after Frank attacks Helen, the people of Bober's Store are in emotional upheaval. Helen is traumatized from the events of the night before, and Frank feels ashamed about what he has done. Morris also feels sorry about firing Frank, unaware of what had happened with Helen. While taking a nap, Morris accidentally leaves the gas on for the radiator and nearly dies. Frank runs the store while Morris is in the hospital, but he has to dip into his own savings to make up the bottom line due to competition from a new grocery store nearby.


Although it seems as if Frank is about to be confronted with the consequences of his actions, a lack of communication between the characters means that Frank is able to fill the role he did early on in the story, stepping in to run the store like he had before. However, this time, rather than stealing from the register, he pours his own money into the store in order to care for the Bobers and their shop. It seems that Frank may be able to go back to simply working in the store, having proven himself to be reliable once again.

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