GIMPEL THE FOOL With magnificent characterization and an outstanding point of view, the story “Gimpel the Fool”, written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, clearly strengthens the age-old thought that repentance and good deeds will be rewarded with time. Gimpel’s passionate yet innocent characterization play an important part in the story’s meaning. The use of religious association and the use of forceful symbols aid the reader to choose the lesson learned in the work. Written in first person, we can easily understand the main character’s point of view.
Helping the reader understand better the story using the three fictional elements: Plotting, Character, and Place or Setting. Singer utilizes various ways to describe the character “Gimpel”. Although Gimpel appears to be a fool, he is actually a wise man and can even be referred to as a “Saint”. He is considered wise because the loves the children that are not his, he strongly believes in his religion, and is not swayed by other temptations.
First of all, he does not listen to what people say about him and do to him.
Most of them say he is a fool, and joke about him for their own entertainment. He is made into a victim rather a foolish character. When he introduces himself at the beginning we can feel his personality being honest. When he describes how people fooled him we perceive that it was not hard to do so. He describes how everyone would tell him a lie and he did not question it, he just believed them. “In the first place, everything is possible, as it is written in the Wisdom of the Fathers” (Singer, 2004, p. 278).
Gimpel sounds very honest and straightforward, he does not intend to make a lie sound believable. He allows you to know about what he is thinking. After another example of “foolishness” Gimpel states, “I was no weakling. If I slapped someone he’d see all the way to Cracow. But I’m really not a slugger by nature. I think to myself, ‘Let it pass. ‘ So they take advantage of me” (Singer, 2004, p. 278). Here, Gimsel is not describing a fool but an innocent, intelligent, and dependable character. Furthermore, Gimpel create the character by describing himself.
In the opening lines he says, “I don’t think myself a fool. On the contrary” (Singer, 2004, p. 277). And to support that, in the last sentences, he mentions that some kids are taking advantage of him. By describing this, we believe Gimsel to be some kind of “Martyr and not a fool. His actions might describe him as a fool because of his virtuousness and innocence, but he believes in his heart and it tells him not to let anybody suffer not even himself. He rejects the devil and strongly believes in God and uses references of him turning to his rabbi for advice.
Also, attending and respecting his church. Gimpel’s good and understanding heart by forgiving everyone for what they did to him shows he is much like God in his disposition. When he finds out his wife is cheating and he learns his children are not his, he still cares about them unquestionably. His actions show that he is humble and a good man. Furthermore, Gimpel’s actions, him not believing in violence, make him out to be above that kind of behavior, which doesn’t make him a fool at all.
It makes the rest of the people look like fools. The townspeople are continuously telling him the stories about; “Gimpel, there is a fair in heaven”, “Gimpel, the rabbi gave birth to a calf in the seventh month”, and “Gimpel, a cow flew over the roof and laid brass eggs” and he believes these, that’s why he is perceived as a “fool”. In one occasion he reveals how his wife physically abuses him and how he tolerates her attacks. Also his brothers assaulted him several occasions but he uses sympathy and tolerance to withstand them.
During the story, some normal figures can be characterized in much more in-depth and symbolic values. For example, when Gimpel chooses to leave Frampol. His leaving can be understood on two levels. The first is obvious, that he needs a change of setting or just he wants to get away. When looking at it closely, it symbolizes a cleansing he is experiencing, an emotional revitalization and that he is no longer a fool that everyone can taken advantage of. “I wandered all over the land, and good people did not neglect me” (Singer, 2004, p. 86). At the end of the story, outsiders are accepting him, something he had not felt during his whole life. “It is many years since I left Frampol, but as soon as I shut my eyes again I am there. And whom do you think I see? Elka. I weep and implore, ‘Let me be with you,’ and she consoles me and tells me to be patient. The time is nearer than far. ” Here, Gimsel describes how Elka, a enthusiastically changing character throughout the story, is also accepting him. She is characterized as a dishonest but regretful sinner.
Gimsel somehow saves her soul by being considerate, tolerant and showing her love. The illegitimate children represent Gimsel’s dishonest wife and her sins. When he learns the children are not his he still cares for them and distribute his fortune among them. Gimpel is truly and compassionate by forgiving Elka for all her sins. ” One night, when the period of mourning was done, as I lay dreaming on the flour sacks, there came the Spirit of Evil himself and said to me, “Gimpel, why do you sleep? Here, Gimpel is approach by the Evil spirit who encourages him to do his order and “punish “the townspeople for all their bad behavior. He shows the spirit that he is growing and refuses his orders. He shows the spirit he will no longer be pushed around. He shows he has forgiven who ever did wrong to him and is moving on. What’s really good about fist person narration is that you get direct and immediate views of whatever the main character is thinking. “Gimpel the Fool” does exactly that, gives you a behind-the-scenes visit of the mind of Gimpel.
We see inside his sincere personality, his feelings, and his believes. We understand that forgiveness is in his heart when he forgives Elka for cheating on him. The townspeople tell stories about Gimpel that show how naive and “easy to take in” he was: “Every woman or girl who came to bake a batch of noodles had to fool me at least once. ” We learn he is passive and enthusiastic to please when he consents to get married with the township “whore”. He then explains on why he doesn’t get even against the townspeople’s annoyances: “If I ever dared say, ‘Ah, you’re kidding! there was trouble. People got angry. What was I to do? I believed them, and hope at least that did them some good. ” This illustration also shows his unselfishness for others, and his noble character. “Gimpel the Fool” teaches us an important lesson; you get what you give. Also, it teaches us that you should not worry too much on small challenges or problems. The author uses methods such as well organized characterization, strong symbolism, and a deep point of view to effectively get his point across. The story show us to think outside the box
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