Comparision Of Duddy Kravitz And Jay Gatsby

2020 words - 8 pages

Comparision of Duddy Kravitz and Jay Gatsby

Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz certainly provides a stark contrast to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. While Fitzgerald epitomizes descriptive writing techniques, Richler is far more reserved and subtle in terms of description when juxtaposed. However, both writers are able to successfully reveal the precarious journey of, essentially, the same character. Richler’s Duddy Kravitz and Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, exemplifies the accomplishments that result from pursuing a dream. Kravitz obediently follows his grandfather’s advice: “A man without land is nobody” (Richler, 49.) Meanwhile, Gatsby follows his heart and pursues Daisy Buchanans’ unrequited love. While there are parallactic views on whether each character’s actions are inspiring or denouncing, the similarities between the two are blatantly obvious. The psychological structure of Kravitz essentially parallels that of Gatsby because both rise to prominence from meager existence, both attempt to conceal their inauspicious past, both pursue their goals through questionable means, and both base their entire existence on a dream which ultimately proves to be their downfall.
A common past may partially be responsible for the close psychological similarities between Kravitz and Gatsby. During their initial portion of life, both characters were confronted with similar problems. Due to their impoverished state, both characters appeared bound to a lifetime of mediocrity. As Richler describes, “Where Duddy Kravitz sprung from the boys grew up dirty and sad, spiky also, like grass beside the railroad tracks.” (45.) Kravitz’s background is further exposed when he claims, “He’s a hack and he picks up extra money pimping. My father’s a pimp…That ought to be good for a laugh. My old man’s a lousy pimp.” (105.) Certainly, Kravitz was never brought up under ideal conditions, and neither was Gatsby, who encounters much of the same problems. “For over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed.” (Fitzgerald, 95.) Fitzgerald further reinforces this fact, “A young major just out of the army and covered with medals he got in the war. He was so hard up he had to keep wearing his uniform because he couldn’t buy some regular clothes…Start him! I made him...I raised him out of nothing, right out of the gutter.” (162.) Undoubtedly, both characters begin their journeys with similar challenges. While Kravitz desperately attempts to avoid a lifetime of “nothingness,” Gatsby struggles to overcome his status as a “poor boy, who can’t marry rich girls.” In essence, poverty is the major contributing factor responsible for the irrepressible desire exemplified by Kravitz and Gatsby. Thus, it is vital that each character experience it. Since Kravitz and Gatsby are exposed to the same challenges during their childhood years,...

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