1.) Compare The Assistant to another of Bernard Malamud's stories, a short story, or a novel. How are they different? How are they similar?
2.) Compare Morris Bober and Julius Karp.
3.) Compare Frank Alpine and Helen Bober.
4.) How would you define success?
5.) Do you think that Morris charged enough for the rolls that he sold to the Polish woman? If you think that he charged enough, in approximately what year do you think that the story took place? If you don't think that he charged enough, give one or more reasons why he might charge too little.
6.) Was Frank successful in copying Saint Francis of Assisi? Explain your answer.
7.) Suppose that Morris told you, on his death bed, that he had failed in life. How would you respond?
8.) Discuss the relationship between Detective Minogue and his son, Ward. Do you think that the detective would have achieved better results using a different approach with his son? Explain your answer.
9.) Morris Bober's life is not really interesting. He spends all day every day in his store, waiting for customers. So, why are we so intrigued by him?
10.) The author ends the novel without completing the story of Frank and Helen's relationship. How would you like the rest of their relationship to be?