The Elephant and Other Stories is an original collection of short stories that depict themes of unfulfilled expectations, relationships, and isolation. The stories explore the complexities of the choices people make, particularly when they are wrestling with feelings of grief and guilt
Guilt and its repercussions: Bernard Malamud’s ‘The Magic Barrel’ examines how guilt and suffering function in Malamud’s narratives as moral lessons. The thesis explores the philosophical questions of guilt, being, and relationships by interpreting Malamud’s work through the lens of Buber’s teachings. Throughout the project, attention is drawn to the art of storytelling, and how both Malamud and Buber believed storytelling to be useful in depicting the moral quandaries inherent in human existence .
Three stories from Bernard Malamud’s The Magic Barrel are examined against the backdrop of Martin Buber’s “Guilt and Guilt Feeling” as well as his seminal texts I-and-Thou and Between Man and Man. The stories are “The Magic Barrel”, “The Mourners”, and “The Bill”, with a short introductory analysis of The Assistant in the first chapter.
Although the primary focus is a reading of Malamud’s work as moral teaching, the secondary focus is on the power of story-telling to breathe life into complex and often times obscure philosophical and ethical concepts.