Gimpel the Fool
An Explication of Singer’s “Gimpel the Fool”
The story “Gimpel the Fool” is written in first person point of view; and the narrator, Gimpel, is the main character in the story. In the opening paragraph in the story Singer shows how reliable of a narrator that Gimpel is. Gimpel shares many of the nicknames he has had given to him in school, including “imbecile, donkey, flax-head, dope, glump, ninny, and fool.” He then says that he was considered a fool because he was easily taken in. He gave an example of one of the situations that earned him that title. “They said, “Gimpel, you know the rabbi’s wife has been brought to childbed?” So I skipped school. Well, it turned out to be a lie. How was I supposed to? She hadn’t had a big belly. But I never really looked at her belly.” I think that it shows nothing but a great deal of honesty on Gimpel’s part to explain the situation the way that he does. He doesn’t even try to make it sound as if it was even hard to fool him. He just told it the exact way that it took place; they told him a lie and he didn’t even question it, he just believed it. He doesn’t try to make the lie sound anymore believable than it was either; he is very honest and straightforward. He also gives you insight on his thought process, which is very open and unguarded. After his second example of “foolishness” Gimpel says, “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.” These are not words of a fool, but they are words of a very trusting and reliable character.
Gimpel is made to be a protagonist character in the opening paragraph. Singer...