Discuss the theme of the story.
Do you think that ‘Take Pity’ is a story of unusual heroism and determination?
Answer: The story ‘Take Pity’ narrates us the heroic struggle of a polish woman Eva against heavy odds of life. It is written in the background of economic recession of 1930 in America. People had to face starvation and unemployment. They were forced to eat piece of bread of found in heaps of garbage. In this era of selfishness, we are given a shining example of human kindness and dignified way of living. The writer wants to show us how the feeling of pity gets excited naturally and effortlessly.
The central character of the story, Eva, is a paragon of struggle, determination and self-respect. She touched the lowest bottom in her economic life, especially, after death of her husband. She did not want to take help from any body either out of pity or out of love. She readily rejected one after other offer of help by Rosen, an acquaintance of late husband. She wanted to live in dignified and independent manner. She was not prepared to accept any offer of help that might injure (harm) her feeling of honor or prestige in the eyes of others.
A time came when Eva and her two daughters had even to go without food. However, she refused all the outside helps, offers from Rosen who seemed to take pity on her, and later, even to love her. Rosen told about girls, as “They were tired, they were weak. Little Surale held with her hand all the time the dress of Fega. A time came when Eva’s daughters became thin because of hunger and starvation. One “could see in their faces their bones.” Once when Rosen tried to give something to girls Fega answered him, “we can’t take Momma says today is a fast day.” Here we begin to see that Fega and Surale were also going to same path of self-respect and determination. Eva rejected every all the offers outright because she was a woman with determined mind. She had full confidence in her ability and capabilities and trust in God. Therefore, we agree fully with the statement that ‘Take Pity’ by Bernard Malamud is a story of determination and self-respect.