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Free Study Guide for The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

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Finally, the indictment arrived. The warden brought it to Yakov. But, it was different than Yakov had expected. For one thing, the number of wounds on Zhenia's body had changed. And, there was no ritual murder charge. Yakov felt that, because the evidence was weak, there would never be a trial. But, he hoped that he would finally be allowed to contact a lawyer.

The warden returned. He wanted the indictment papers. They were only meant to be looked at by the warden, not passed along to the accused. Yakov thought that this indicated that the authorities were fearful of a trial.



Yakov was no longer chained. He asked Berezhinsky for an explanation, but received none.

One day, Yakov's hair was trimmed and his beard combed. He was allowed to wash his face and hands and given new prison clothing to wear. He was told that his wife was there to visit him. They met in the visitors' room through a grate.

Raisl wanted to know what they had done to him. He shot back a question regarding what she had done. She told him that she was no longer what she was. She asked him to forgive the past.

Yakov then found out that she had a paper for him to sign, a confession. That was why she had been allowed to see him, to talk him into confessing. He refused. She did not care. It was just a way for her to see him. She was really there to tell him that she had given birth to a boy who she had named Chaiml. The natural father did not matter. He did not act like his father. Temporarily, Shmuel was acting the part, but he was old. Yakov said that he would write a note saying that Chaiml was his son. But, there was a problem. He could not pass anything to Raisl except the confession.

Using a pen supplied by the guard so that he could sign the confession, Yakov wrote that the confession was a lie instead of signing it. Then, on the envelope, he put a statement declaring himself to be Chaiml's father. Raisl told him the date to put by his signature. It was February of 1913.

Raisl hid the envelope up her sleeve and gave the unsigned confession to the guard.


The climax of the story is when Yakov writes that the confession is a lie instead of signing it.


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Johnson, Jane. "TheBestNotes on The Fixer". . 09 May 2017