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 .
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.