The Lives Bernard Malamud Lost in Dubin's Lives
Even before it was published, Bernard Malamud revealed that he had been very ambitious in creating Dubin's Lives. This novel, however, suffers from many defects and discrepancies caused by the author's attempts to attain a new way of living more suitable to the society after the 1960s.
Malamud was fundamentally a moralist and believed in the discipline with which he attained his own success through the Depression and the World War ll. As an established writer, however, he had to face the society after the 1960s, which was less restricted by genteel traditions but entertained more material affluence, sexual freedom, and sexual and racial equality. Though he does not reject all the new tendencies, Malamud was not flexible enough to accept easily the way of life of the new society. This limitation is reflected in the contradictions between the plot and characterization, the inappropriate allegorical structure to contrast moral requirements and sexual and emotional requirements, Dubin's well-off but failing heroic character and the role of the daughters, who repeat their father's defects instead of enlarging his life with their own merits as the sons in the earlier works of Malamud did.
After all, as a good conscientious novelist Malamud tried to create a new way of living with the new standards. It was because of his conscientious nature, however, that he could not learn much from the new free society so that he failed not only in maintaining his old good moral way of living but also in creating a new way.