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the fixer

             In the novel, The Fixer, the author, Bernard Malamud, .
             presents to us a poor Jewish handyman living in Russia .
             during the early 1900's, before the Russian .
             revolution had begun. Destroyed by his wife's .
             disavowal, Yakov Shepsovitch Bok leaves his shtetl in .
             search of opportunities for a better life. After a .
             few months of desperate searching, Yakov sneaks out of .
             the ghetto to look for work among the goyim. As he .
             searches the streets, he stumbles upon a man who lay .
             drunk on the floor. Yakov immediately recognizes a pin .
             on the man's coat as belonging to the anti-Semite .
             organization called the Black Hundreds. Putting his .
             doubts behind him, Yakov decides to help the fat .
             Russian. Not aware of Yakov's origins, the Russian .
             offers him a job as a reward. The job, however, .
             requires him to live in a district prohibited to Jews. .
             Out of desperation, Yakov agrees. Only a few months .
             later, honest, hard-working Yakov, is caught. .
             Authorities had found out he is a Jew. Less than a .
             week before that, however, an awful murder had been .
             committed and they accuse Yakov of being the murderer, .
             when in fact the true killer is the young boy's own .
             mother. Yakov is charged with murder for religious .
             purposes. They believe the Jewish community needed .
             the blood to bake into the matzos for Passover as a .
             symbol of the remembrance of the crucifixion of .
             Christ. .
             Yakov Bok is Jewish man in his early thirties. He .
             describes himself as " a fixer by trade, it's a poorer .
             trade than most, and formerly for a short time I was a .
             soldier in the Imperial Army. In fact, to tell you .
             the truth, I"m not a religious man, I"m a .
             freethinker." He believes he has had such bad luck, .
             that it is useless to pray to G"d, and therefore he is .
             more of an atheist, or a freethinker, than he is a .
             Jew. He states he is a Jew only "by birth and .
             nationality," though nobody understands what is meant .
             by that. To the Russians he is legally a mere Jew. At .
             one point Yakov says to himself "I"m Yakov Fixer.

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