Effect of the Schlemiel in The Fixer
Throughout literature, many Jewish authors have attempted to capture the innocence and heroism of the Jew through the "schlemiel." In, The Fixer, Bernard Malamud has created a character who has completely embraced the idea of the schlemiel. The schlemiel, as defined by Ruth Wisse in The Schlemiel as A Modern Hero, is a character who stands for a whole race of people (Wisse x). Yakov Bok the protagonist of The Fixer represents all aspects of the Jew: the pain and the foolishness experienced by the Jew felt rolled into one.
The schlemiel also fully embraces the concept of Yiddish humor, a type known not for its comic aspect but for its harshness. Yiddish humor is meant merely to bring out the unfair and foolish treatment of the Jews throughout time (Wisse x). An example of Yiddish humor in The Fixer comes when Bok is arrested for the crime:
he had begged the colonel to let him walk on the sidewalk to lessen his embarrassment, but was forced into the wet centre of the street, and people ontheir way to work had stopped ...