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Shvoong Home>Books>Gimpel the Fool Review

Gimpel the Fool

Book Review   by:thesnowleopard     Original Author: Isaac Bashevis Singer
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Gimpel the Fool (1945) is a classic Yiddish short story that demonstrates Singer's sense of irony. It is best known from an English translation by Saul Bellow. Gimpel, a Jewish baker, lives in eastern Europe around the turn of the 20th century. Everyone in his village regards him as simple because he takes everything at face value. His shrewish wife cheats on him, his neighbors play coarse jokes on him, his children are not his own. Even the village rabbi colludes in getting Gimpel to go along with the status quo of being the butt of everyone's jokes. Gimple is surrounded by lies and cynicism. But Gimpel is not as simple as he seems. He knows what people do and what goes on around him. He just chooses to keep an open mind, to see the good in the world and not waste his time with the evil. By writing the story from Gimpel's first-person point of view, Singer presents him as an unworldly man but not a stupid one. As a child, this makes him seem gullible. But as he grows older, his gentleness and good spirits begin to have an effect on the cynical world that surrounds him. When his wife dies young, she shoves her infidelities in his face, creating a crisis of faith. In his anger, he nearly does a terrible thing, plotting a rude prank on the rest of the village. But when his wife visits him from Hell, he realizes the worth of his own, unique view of the world and abandons his revenge. Instead, he becomes a wandering holy man, finally ending a long, colorful life convinced that when he dies, God will not lie to him. Singer's irony is in leaving the reader to wonder if Gimpel sees more clearly than most of us.
Published: August 14, 2005   
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  1. Answer   Question  :    in what way does gimpel appear to deserve his nickname the fool?in what other ways is gimpel not foolish at all? View All
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  1. Answer   Question  :    is the author of gimple the fool a british author View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    what is the genre of this story View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    why does he listen to the devil ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    hes temporarily blinded by revenge Monday, June 13, 2011
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  1. 1. hmgillen

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    1 Rating Thursday, July 30, 2009
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