Personal and Collective Identity Codes and Challenges for Minorities, Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer: A Case Study

Mohammadreza Ghanbarinajjar


People naturally live in a community and identity plays an essential role in their life. Codes and elements that construct their identity can be personal or collective, such as gender, name, religion, ethnicity, and language. In order to enjoy more privileges, minority people and those who are discriminated because of their identity, try to change their identity to be similar to the center or in other words, assimilate with it. At the same time, the hegemonic power tries to single out and highlight the identity codes which make one different from the center in order to discriminate them. The major character of the novel, Yakov Bok, changes his identity, name and appearance, as a Jew and enters into the district forbidden to Jews. During the course of the novel, he was arrested and accused of murdering a Christian boy, because he was the only Jew in the neighborhood. The state officials try to change his appearance to make him look like a Jew again and single out. Identity can be changed willingly in order to assimilate and use the advantages of being recognized as a certain person or part of a community, or by force due to the social and political condition of time to be condemned or to face the worst condition.


Identity, Bernard Malamud, The Fixer, Jewishness

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