The First Seven Years

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"The First Seven Years"

"The First Seven Years" is a short story in which the protagonist, Sobel, becomes a prominent yet unstable character as conflicts that threaten his goal in life emerge. Through Sobel, the author deals with love, a general truth of human nature to which all readers can relate.

At the beginning of the story, the author introduces Sobel as being a common citizen who works hard in a shoe store. The main conflict arises when Feld asks Max to go out with his daughter. Sobel's impulsive actions such as running out of the store, reveal that he is jealous and that there is something unknown going on with him and Miriam. The following quote implies that Sobel is jealous: "So why you look for strange boys in the street they should go out with Miriam? Why don't you think of me?" (126).

Sobel's feelings become evident at the end, when he confesses his love for Miriam when talking with Feld. Sobel is a character who is patient and willing to spend years of his life working hard and earning a mediocre salary in order to be near his love. The following quote supports this idea: "Why do you think I worked so long for you? For the stingy wages I sacrificed five years of my life…" (123). He prioritizes emotions and feelings higher than social status and materialism.

Sobel's character is very dynamic and changes drastically throughout the story. His primary purpose in life is to wait for Miriam to become mature so he can ask her to marry him, according to this quote, "Day after day, for five years he had sat on his bench, cutting and hammering away, waiting for the girl to become a woman." (127). As soon as a stranger (Max) is brought into Miriam's life, he gives up on his dreams and runs away, planning to never come back. However, at the end, his attitude changes and returns to how it was in the beginning of the story, "…for his assistant was already seated at the last, pounding leather for his love." (127).

The importance of Sobel's character...
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