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What has made the Jewish writers conspicuous in American literature is their sensitivity to the value of man . . . Personally, I handle the Jew as a symbol of the tragic experience of man existentially. I try to see the Jew as a universal man. Everyman is a Jew though he may not know it. The Jewish drama is a . . . symbol of the fight for existence in the highest possible human terms. Jewish history is God's gift of drama.

Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) as quoted in The Story and Its Writer,Ann Charters, ed., (Boston, 1991): 879


Bernard Malamud, "Angel Levine"

1) How does Malamud use irony as a way of "universalizing" the main character's experience?

2) How does the story's big city setting accentuate the author's exploration of the themes of human suffering and redemption?

3) What message might Malamud be seeking to convey by his juxtaposition of images of "depravity," holiness, and humor?

4) How does the author play with the theme of Jewish "identity"?

5) Does the story suggest the presence of any sense of community, Jewish or otherwise, within the stark urban environment in which Manischewitz, the main character, resides?