Free Study Guide for The Fixer by Bernard Malamud|
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THE FIXER - STUDY GUIDE / NOTES
The Deputy Warden is the antagonist of the book. While he is under Warden
Grizitskoy in rank, he seems much less humane and civilized.
Yakov was in solitary confinement. Again, he was led to the warden's office. Bibikov, the Investigating Magistrate, was there conferring with the Deputy Warden. The Deputy Warden was not pleased with Bibikov's plan to interview Yakov. But, Bibikov persisted and got what he wanted. When they were alone in the office, Bibikov told Yakov that he had recently been to St. Petersburg and had consulted with the Minister of Justice, Count Odoevsky. Bibikov had wanted to have the charge of murder dropped. He was told, by the Minister of Justice, to continue his investigation. The minister felt that the evidence should confirm Yakov's guilt. Bibikov admitted to feeling pressure to make the evidence conform. Bibikov told Yakov that the Minister of Justice had suggested that, if the job was too much for him, he could be relieved of his duties. Bibikov told Yakov that the Prosecuting Attorney, Grubeshov, had already convinced himself of Yakov's guilt. Bibikov promised that, while pretending to cooperate with the others, he would continue his investigation.
Once he had his proof, he would go again to the Ministry of Justice. And, if they still wanted to prosecute him, he might go to the press. He said that he was already developing plans to leak some information to the press. He knew that Yakov was innocent. He asked for Yakov's patience and confidence. Yakov acknowledged that he trusted Bibikov. Bibikov's theory, he said, was that Marfa Golov or her blind lover or one of their gang had committed the crime in Marfa's house. Yakov asked what led to that conclusion. Bibikov said simply that thieves quarrel. He added that Proshko and Richter burned down the stable at the brickyard.
Yakov asked Bibikov what the Prosecuting Attorney knew. Bibikov didn't know for sure what Grubeshov knew, but said that he would do whatever advanced his career.
They went on to discuss Father Anastasy. Bibikov called him a charlatan. He said that popes had already stated that things Father Anastasy spoke of were not true.
Bibikov told Yakov that he had a lawyer in mind for him, once he was finally
indicted. Then, he told him that he was not alone and left.
A man was in a nearby cell. Yakov could hear him, but, try as he might, he could not understand what he was saying. They yelled to each other, repeatedly attempting to communicate, but failed. What did get through to Yakov was that the man's tale was heart-breaking.
One night Yakov woke at the sound of moaning and, then, heard a stifled cry.
He and the prisoner with whom he had been attempting to communicate were
the only prisoners in the building. The following day a drunken guard
left his cell door unlocked. Cautiously, Yakov went to finally meet the
other prisoner while he had this rare opportunity. When he reached the
cell, he saw a man hanging, dead. It took Yakov a long time to admit to
himself that the man was Bibikov.
Chapter V, Part 5, seems to give some reasons why the officials felt that Bibikov needed to be controlled/killed. He had thoughts about going to the press. He seemed to be interested in having the truly guilty party be identified.
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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Fixer".
. 09 May 2017