Bernard Malamud’s 1950 brief story “The first Seven Years” speak the tale of a humble cobbler, Feld, and also his daughter Miriam. Feld admires a student, Max, because the younger male is follow an education, other Feld always wanted for his daughter. Eventually, he asks Max to go on a date with his daughter, much to the chagrin that his assistant, Sobel. Sobel has been diligently working for Feld for the past five years, biding his time come ask Miriam out. Fortunately, the date in between Miriam and also Max doesn’t occupational out, and also Feld discovers Sobel’s secret desires. At the conclusion that the story, Feld agrees the Sobel can go out v Miriam if he works for an additional two years in the cobbler’s shop. The wide theme of the story relates come individuality and social status.

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Decision-Making

Because he desires the best for his daughter, Feld believes that is in his power to do decisions for her, first in regards to whether or not she must receive an education and also eventually in regards to whom she should date. Neither decision functions out for either Feld or Miriam. Malamud supplies the tension between father and also daughter to discover the connection in between individuality and also decision-making. In this exploration, Malamud reveals the for an individual to totally count together independent, she must be enabled to make her very own life decisions.

Formal and also Informal Education

Feld’s desire for Miriam to get a formal education and learning relates to his belief that educated civilization are happier and far better than uneducated people. He uses his very own life together an uneducated cobbler together a basis for this belief. The does not take into consideration, however, the truth that the is an particularly well-read man, together is his daughter, as is his reportedly lowly assistant, Sobel. Follow to Miriam, however, Max is “boring” and also a “materialist” also though the is researching to be an accountant. In this juxtaposition, Malamud discover the instability that Feld’s belief that a officially education instantly makes world happier and also better.

Appearance and Reality

On the face of it, Sobel shows up to it is in a lowly assistant, when Max shows up to be an up-and-coming young businessman. In reality, Sobel is thoughtful and also intelligent, and Max is boring and also brutish. The difference between how Sobel and Max appear and how they room is a far-reaching thematic aspect to the story. Eventually, Feld is able to see past the appearances of every character, at some point rejecting Max together a feasible suitor because that his daughter, and accepting Sobel.

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Wealth and also Happiness

Though his actions are rather misguided, eventually Feld has noble purposes for his daughter: the she flourish up to be much more successful than himself. Feld translates wealth v happiness, and also as that is just a struggling cobbler, he wants Miriam to be wealthier, and also thus happier, 보다 he has actually been. This is why he initially rejects Sobel as a potential suitor; ~ all, Sobel is additionally a cobbler and an apprentice in ~ that. In the story"s climax, Feld realizes that even though Sobel is no wealthy, the is happy and prosperous. By proxy, therefore, Feld becomes mindful of his own joy once that is ultimately able come disassociate joy from wealth.


Samuel Hamilton has actually been writing since 2002. His work-related has appeared in “The Penn,” “The Antithesis,” “New expansion Arts Review" and “Deek” magazine. Hamilton hold a master of arts in English education and learning from the college of Pittsburgh, and a master of arts in composition from the college of Florida.


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