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Word Count: 554
In Bernard Malamuds The Assistant the characters convey a sense of uncomfortable collision of cultures The author examines their dissimilarities on issues such as their past views on family life displays of affection and their future The differences between these two characters allow the writer to demonstrate that life is indeed what one makes of it First Malamud depicts the contrasting feelings each character has for their past He portrays Helen as a woman full of nostalgia in her perspective towards her younger days All the night Ive been thinking about times we had on this beach when we were kids And do you remember the parties I suppose Im blue that Im no longer seventeen Additionally Helen defines youth as a person that is privileged with all kinds of possibilities In contrast he speaks of Louis as a person who is very satisfied and content with his life up to this point You dont catch me giving away nothing for nothing I got my youth yet Next the author describes the difference in their belief toward family values He reveals Helens uncertainty about what she wants out of life and her insecurity is apparent as she asks Louis What do you want out of your life Whereas Malamud clearly indicates that Louis knows exactly what he wants from life in his response to Helens question The same thing I got - plusPlus more so my wife and family can have also Additionally the author further displays the clash of cultures between the two when Helen in replying asks what if his wife wanted something different than he did Subsequently the writer exhibits the outlooks of each character on the topic of love He expresses the fact that Louis is aware that there was a time when Helen treated him a whole lot better He states how it seems that now in reference to love Helen lives only for the past not the
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