Cliff Notes™, Cliffs Notes™, Cliffnotes™, Cliffsnotes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company. does not provide or claim to provide free Cliff Notes™ or free Sparknotes™. Free Cliffnotes™ and Free Spark Notes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company and Barnes & Noble, Inc., respectively. has no relation. Free Summary / Study Guide / Book Summaries / Literature Notes / Analysis / Synopsis
+Larger Font+
-Smaller Font-

Free Study Guide for The Fixer by Bernard Malamud

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version




Yakov Bok

Yakov Bok is the main character. He struggles from the beginning to the end of the story. He leaves the shtetl and heads toward a better life in Kiev. A better life is not what he finds there. He is accused of ritual murder of a Christian child at a time when the Tsar needs a scapegoat. He is a likeable person, but that does him no good. He is a Jew. Being a Jew is difficult in pre-Revolutionary Russia. There is much distrust and hatred of Jews. This makes it easy to put blame on them.


Shmuel is Yakovís father-in-law. He is very serious about his religion. He provides a contrast for Yakovís approach to religion at the beginning of the story.


Bibikov is one person who believes that Yakov is innocent of the crime of which he is accused. He is the Investigating Magistrate for Cases of Extraordinary Importance. He wants the person who is really guilty of the crime of which Yakov is accused to be found. He has no interest in creating a scapegoat. Bibikov is one of the few characters in the story who provides us, the readers, with accurate information.

The Deputy Warden

The Deputy Warden is the antagonist of the story. He is very cruel, crueler than the warden is. He personifies what is wrong with Yakovís accusers.


We, the readers, first read about what happened on the day that Zhenia Golovís body was found. Then, the author takes us back five months and tells us about that earlier time. At the end of Chapter II we are again at the time when Zheniaís body was found. From the end of Chapter II onward, the tale is chronological.

Secondary to the main plot is the story of the relationship of Yakov and Raisl.

Another minor plot is the story of who really killed Zinaida.


Bernard Malamud was a Jewish writer, but he was also a writer for all of mankind. In the Jewish experience he saw the human experience and wrote accordingly. Malamud wrote about seemingly unimportant people, but, he showed that they were in actuality very important.


The rising action takes place between the inciting moment and the climax, between the arrest of Yakov Bok for the murder of Zhenia Golov and the time when he writes on the confession he has been given to sign that what is on the confession is a lie.


The falling action takes place between the climax and the outcome or denouement, between when Yakov writes that the confession that he has been given to sign is a lie and when Yakov is taken via carriage to his trial.


The Fixer is written in the third-person limited point of view. The story-teller can see into only the mind of Yakov Bok.


Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version

The Fixer by Bernard Malamud-Free BookNotes Summary

Privacy Policy
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
175 Users Online | This page has been viewed 6143 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:20 AM

Cite this page:

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