Gimpel The Fool
An Analysis of Gimpel The Fool
Gimpel the Fool is a story written by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Saul Bellow translated the story I read because the story was written in Yiddish. Gimpel The Fool is a story about a simple man named Gimpel. He is considered by many to be a fool because he is a very gullible man. He is constantly falling for tricks laid out by almost everyone. Gimpel is persuaded to marry Elka, a woman who will wind up using him also. Elka treats Gimpel very poorly. She has “his” child only 17 weeks into the marriage. Gimpel knows the child is not his, but allows himself to be persuaded into thinking that some babies are born premature. Gimpel also catches Elka having an affair, but convinces himself he is making it all up. On her deathbed, Elka confesses that none of his six children are actually his, and she had been cheating on him the whole time. After her death, Gimpel decides to get back at all the townspeople who have been mean to him by baking bread with urine mixed in it. Elka visits him in a dream, and he sees that she is turning black from being in hell. Gimpel changes his mind and buries the bread. He then leaves Frampol, giving all of his money to his children. It is during his journeys that he discovers that there really are no lies; whatever doesn’t happen is dreamed at night. The story ends with Gimpel dying and going to a place where even he cannot be deceived. To find the true meaning of Gimpel The Fool I decided to analyze the plot, characters and point of view.
Plot is a sequence of events; these events include exposition, complicating incident, rising action, technical climax, falling action, dramatic climax and denouement. The three events that I thought were most important in reading Gimpel The Fool were exposition, complicating incident and dramatic climax. In the exposition, we are introduced to Gimpel. It is here that we learn why everyone refers to him as Gimpel the fool. It stems from the fact that as a child he was easily tricked and deceived by the other children. This becomes a major part of Gimpel as the story progresses. Another aspect of the plot is the complicating incident. The complicating incident is where we first see there is a problem. Although many people will think that the problem is that he allows himself to be played the fool, I see the problem as being that he is in love with Elka and is blind to her deceit. Gimpel allows this because the Rabbi says “It is written, better to be a fool all your days than for one hour to be evil. You are not a fool. They are the fools. For he who causes his neighbor to feel shame loses paradise himself” (Kennedy 69). He is married to her for 20 years, and when she is dying, she confesses, “It was ugly how I deceived you all these years. I want to go clean to my maker, and so I have to tell you that the children are not yours” (Kennedy 76). This is the wound to Gimpel’s heart that leads to the dramatic...