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Bernard Malamud Research Paper

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How Culture and Time Period Shaped Bernard Malamud’s Writings?
Bernard Malamud’s life was a life filled with sorrow and disappointments. The second World War was a rebuild for America after the depression, but for Jewish Americans it was very devastating due to the slaughtering of many Jews in the Holocaust. In addition, Malamud suffered and struggled with even more than just the Holocaust, this included his family life. Bernard Malamud’s cultural and family experiences from the Holocaust, his mother’s death, his Jewish background, and western influence made him a depressed man who was looking to forget the past with his writing.The characters he created were also depressed and looking for ways to escape their reality.
Bernard Malamud’s writings
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”His father, Max, a Russian Jewish immigrant, ran a small grocery store in Brooklyn. His mother, Bertha, also a Russian Jewish immigrant, suffered from schizophrenia and died in an institution when Malamud was in high school. His younger brother, Eugene, inherited this mental illness. Malamud’s family life was a source of motivation and inspiration for his work.”(Low) This is most likely one of the reasons he was depressed and wrote the way he did, because his mother died during Malamud’s childhood from Schizophrenia and his brother inherited his mother’s disorder. Even though this was all devastating, he continued on with school and pursuing his career of being a writer. Malamud enjoyed going to high school, for it got him away from his sorrowful and saturnine home and the grocery store. According to Bernadette Low, “Going to school, Malamud encountered a compelling and prosperous world, one that contrasted markedly with the simple, humble, limited grocery store. Delighted with books, art, and music, he thrived, attending…show more content…
This also means that Malamud writes about Jews for they know him and they make dramatic stories. Even though Malamud knew little of his culture, he still sympathized with the pain of his fellow Jews and Jewish writers. According to Mark Shechner, “The sorrow that penetrates to the bone in Malamud was the mood of a generation of Jewish writers who had been raised on immigrant poverty and worldwide depression and brought abruptly to adulthood by the Holocaust. Low spirits came as naturally to them as hunger or ambition or breath.” (Shechner) This shows that Malamud was sympathetic towards his fellow Jews for he was raised in poverty and in depression from the Holocaust like they were. In reality, Malamud’s writings and life were shaped mostly by western ideas and not by his Jewish culture. According to Mark Shechner, “Though Malamud was not a man of ideas, his character as a writer was shaped in the orbit of the New York intellectuals, who took him up in the 1950s and promoted him as the voice of their own particular Weltschmerz.” (Schechner) This means that Malamud’s writing were influenced by western ideas, because New York intellectuals helped him and liked him. So he listened to their ideas and became influenced by them, and his writings became westernized. This culture mixture of Western ideas and Jewish culture paved the way
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