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Word Count: 1,598
Malamud s The Fixer is a novel which was written in a time of extreme prejudice and inequality Malamud fought this struggle in a very powerful way - through writing Perhaps the strongest styles he used to fight against the Jewish oppression are irony and the use of dreams and hallucinations Irony is an overpowering force in Bernard Malamuds The Fixer The sequence of events which Yakov Bok goes through makes the entire novel ironic The chief irony of the novel lies in the fact that what Bok is attempting to escape he cannot escape To understand the irony in the novel it is necessary to examine two major events in the circular life of Yakov Bok Bok is attempting the escape his life in the shetl He is wrongly persecuted for a ritual murder and attempts to escape his physical and mental torture In each case Bok is attempting to escape his Jewishness The novel has an overall ironic tone Bok leaves the shetl in which he has lived the majority of his life to go to Kiev In Kiev Bok hopes to find opportunities for work and education Mainly though Bok seeks relief from his earlier shame of being cheated on by his wife While in the shetl Bok sees himself as a victim of his wifes barrenness The irony lies in the fact that that even after escaping the shetl and being in a different kind of hell prison Boks life in the shetl comes back to haunt him Bok learns of a child that Raisl has had with her lover and gives his bitter sentence of a black cholera upon her Malamud 254 The one thing that might have given him happiness in his life before has now gone to someone else This event brings Yakov shame that he could not father a child with Raisl while another man could
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