Theme of Love in The Magic Barrel by Benard Malamud Essay

Theme of Love in The Magic Barrel by Benard Malamud Essay

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That what love is has always been a question satisfied completely by no answer. Some have their own definitions and draw in their minds images of ideal lovers, while others just simply follow what the hearts dictate. Through the spiritual journey to seek for love of Leo, the main character of 'The Magic Barrel' by Bernard Malamud, the author gives us his undeniable declaration of love. Leo, who has a matchmaker find for him a wife, after all his choices falls in love with the one he does not choose, yet he loves her at the first sight. As what Malamud declares, it is because love is not a matter of choice but of chance.

From the very beginning of the story we are known that Leo Finkle has devoted all of his 6 year-time to his study and he is to be ordained. Never has in his mind had the thought of getting married until he is adviced to do so in order to win a congregation in an easier way. How can he get married once he has had no ?time for a social life and the company of young women?? The solution is a traditional one within the Jewish community, he calls in Pinye Salzman the matchmaker. From what he talks about the role of a marriage broker (?ancient, and honorable, highly approved?) and about his parents? marriage (?a successful one in the sense of their everlasting devotion to each other?), we might infer that he believes there will be love after getting married by arragement. Here we can see the conflict, and even irony of the situation. Leo loves no one yet he wants to have a wife. He wants a wife yet he finds her through other?s suggestion which depends on the lady?s social status, property and father?s promises. Moreover, his requires are so much and so high that there may be no ability to fulfill them. He finds fault...


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... some one nor not to love that person. Leo after discovering Stella is not a good girl has tried not to love her. ?Through days of torment he endlessly struggled not to love her?? but he is unsuccessful, or in fact, he scares of success, ?fearing success, he escaped it.? Poor him! Why cannot he succeed? Because it is the magic of love. Because we do not have the competence in controlling love. Because he must love no one but Stella. Love is not something that we can choose but something that destiny has planned for us.

Any one of us can be a Leo now and then. We innocently believe that we have the choice and that we are taking the control over choosing our lovers. The illusion hurts us sometimes. However as Bernard Malamud shows us, love is not a matter of choice but of chance. There will be some one for us somewhere outside. Sooner or later our chance will come.

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