Gimpel the Fool

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There are a variety of different conclusions that one can reach in interpreting the story of Gimpel the Fool. The story draws its roots from the deep Yiddish background of the author, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and it deals with the traditional ―fool‖ archetype dealt with so often in the culture. The very archetype is plagued with irony, as the fool is typically seen as coming out on top of all of the others in the story, making them seem as the fool rather than the ―fool‖ himself. Gimpel the Fool follows the archetype well. In some instances, the idea of this particular archetype can be frustrating, as the typical reader may want the main character to get the revenge he deserves. This is rarely the case, as in doing so, it would make the main character the fool that everyone else believes him to be. The main theme behind the story of Gimpel is that even though everyone viewed him as a fool, they ended up being the ones who were truly foolish. Isaac Bashevis Singer was born in a Jewish village in Poland in 1904, while it was still part of Russia. He comes from a long line of rabbis, and his father intended to send him to the Warsaw Rabbinical Seminary to continue this tradition. He left the school in order to proofread for a Yiddish literary magazine, and to translate foreign novels into Yiddish. Singer wrote his first novel, Satan in Goray in 1935. He left his wife and son to settle in New York City, and shortly divorced and remarried. When he came to America in 1935, he followed in the footsteps of his brother, Joshua Israel Singer. He joined the Jewish Forward, a Manhattan based Yiddish newspaper. Some of his stories and novels were serialized in the Forward. He eventually turned to writing fiction, including long stories and short stories. His short stories are typically more acclaimed than the longer ones. ―His work deals mostly with the exotic heritage of Polish Jews, their traditional faith and folkways, their daily village life, their mysticism, their...
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