Malamud’s The Assistant: Frank Alpine's Metamorphosis From Bad To Good

Are people born bad? If they are, can they gradually become good? These questions are often broached in Bernard Malamud’s novel, The Assistant. Malamud questions human nature and reveals that humans are capable of change if they only want it bad enough. In this novel, Frank Alpine is the quintessential example of how bad can metamorphose into good and innocent.
Frank Alpine is introduced to the reader as a suspicious character. He wanders around Sam Pearl’s store and occasionally Morris Bober’s store. He seems lonely and melancholy. He “…seemed to be under stress, sighed much and muttered inaudibly to himself.” (p32) He resembled a homeless man. His beard and long-black overcoat ...

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mean I’ve been trough a lot. I’ve been close to some wonderful things……but close is as far as I go….sooner or later everything I think is worth having gets away from me in some way or other.” (P39-40) Frank does not have any clear justification for his actions. However, his defense is that after such a rough childhood, what else can be expected of him, other than evil. Frank does not comprehend why he does what he does. He has no rational explanation of why he shatters everything he works so hard to gain. Maybe Frank was just born evil.
Although Frank has done wrong, he tries to redeem himself by working for Morris Bober for free, to show his gratitude. However, Frank proves to not be a man of his word. Frank claims that he wants to repay Morris for his kindness. He pleads for the Bober family to allow him to remain at the store as a trainee. He even avers “I know I am a stranger but I am an honest guy. Whoever keeps an eye on me will find that out in no time.” (P46) As we ...

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her further away, rather than closer to him. Frank’s impatience and need for that instant gratification took over, it was stronger that his conscience. And yes, inevitably Frank once again set himself back with his stupid, rash actions.
Though Frank did not demonstrate any change for the better because he was still stealing from Morris, he was given another chance. Even after Ida took every opportunity to admonish Helen about Frank, Helen could no longer deny her feelings. Helen could not resist her growing love for Frank. “Helen felt herself, despite the strongest doubts, falling in love with Frank.” (P157) Their love began to blossom, they were meant for each other. Frank made ...

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Malamud’s The Assistant: Frank Alpine's Metamorphosis From Bad To Good. (2008, November 1). Retrieved February 27, 2020, from
"Malamud’s The Assistant: Frank Alpine's Metamorphosis From Bad To Good.", 1 Nov. 2008. Web. 27 Feb. 2020. <>
"Malamud’s The Assistant: Frank Alpine's Metamorphosis From Bad To Good." November 1, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2020.
"Malamud’s The Assistant: Frank Alpine's Metamorphosis From Bad To Good." November 1, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2020.
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Added: 11/1/2008 12:09:58 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1450
Pages: 6

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