Gimpel the Fool

Topics: Isaac Bashevis Singer, First-person narrative, Gimpel the Fool Pages: 3 (957 words) Published: March 19, 2013
When we hear about the pranks and tricks that the people of the village of Frampol play on Reb Gimpel, an ordinary village baker in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Gimpel the Fool", most of them being ridiculous or mean, it would be generally assumed that anybody who would take all that they were told seriously would be considered a simpleton, or to the point, a fool.  Gimpel, the narrator, who by telling us how he really feels, comes across to us as being anything but a fool. In fact, he is a very intelligent person who more than often knows when he is being tricked, yet allows others to take advantage of him, deciding that "..if people want to make fun of him, they must have a reason" (Hadda 123). By telling us the story from a first person point of view, we can understand what Gimpel is going through and feels when being taunted by others. If the pranksters knew the real Gimpel, they obviously wouldn't trick him - give Gimpel a handful of goat droppings, and he'd return the favour with a slap in the face. Who would have known the shock Gimpel got upon learning that Elka, his bride, was both a widow and divorced - and pregnant with another man's child to boot? If life in the village is tough enough for poor Gimpel, things aren't any better at home. Elka is totally boorish and crude, swearing and hitting Gimpel, who has to do all the housework.  Elka's younger brother is also hitting Gimpel, but he can't hit back, because he is threatened with disruption of the family - Elka would divorce him.  The first attempt of not believing anything he hears proves to be unsuccessful, as people start to deliberately confuse Gimpel -  by telling the truth in addition to tricking him, so that he "...didn't know the big end from the small" (Singer 99). Knowing that he wouldn't be able to live this way, he goes back to his old self. Ironically, this is what Gimpel feared beforehand - he would think everyone was lying to him - an attitude he wanted to avoid, thus being the reason he...
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