Gimpel the Fool

Topics: Morality, Religion, The Real Pages: 2 (862 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Literature Question
2. “Gimpel was not a little man. He was a fool, but he wasn’t little.” Do you agree with Singer’s own definition of the protagonist? Singer makes two statements here, one that Gimpel was not a little man, and the other that Gimpel was a fool, and I tend to agree with both. Gimpel, in my opinion, was foolish, but at the same time, by the definition of “little man” as stated in the interview, not little. The definition of “little man” in the interview is “a poor but proud man always struggling”, one who is a “victim”, an example being Sholom Aleichem’s Tevye, who was a “little man with little desires, and with little prejudice”. Gimpel does not fit this archetype. He was not exactly proud (though not exactly self-deprecating either), allowing himself to appear largely as a fool to the village, even though he knew they were pulling jokes on him; he avoided conflict, and allowed himself to be ridiculed by the people, showing that although to his own mind he did have a basic amount of dignity, he was not proud and did not value his public appearance highly (this probably mattered little to him). He was a victim, to a large extent – this is something that he himself acknowledges, as a victim of ridicule and mockery – but he does not play out his victimisation dramatically. He makes active and conscious choices in his actions, and chooses to be a victim, or chooses to allow the townsfolk to victimise him. This shows he has a larger end goal in mind, reaching the Real World safely, and he perhaps treats his victimisation as a smaller price to pay for that end goal. This also disproves another definition as Gimpel does not have “little desires” – it is true that he is satisfied with a good wife and good children, but seems to only have true happiness once he can connect with the Real World and leave the Imaginary World. This is a desire or a belief that is larger than himself and the townsfolk. Gimpel also holds true to his beliefs, and takes his...
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