In many stories there are series of conflicts with an individual and his society. In "Gimpel the Fool," written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, there is conflict between Gimpel and the society in which he lives in. Gimpel is portrayed as a foolish man who has been getting stepped on by the townspeople ever since he was a child. In "Gimpel the Fool" Singer shows how society can abuse the weakness of one man for their own personal enjoyment, therefore, shaping ones role in the community.
The major conflict of the story deals with Gimpel's relationship towards people in his community. Gimpel is always being mocked at for being naive. The people in his community take advantage of his short coming and make it even worse. The odd thing is that Gimpel allows this to be done to him. He even admits to knowing they are lying. Gimpel says, "I knew very well that nothing of the sort had happened, but... maybe something had happened." (Singer 62) This proves that Gimpel is not as dumb as others believe. The thing Gimpel has that no one else is shown as having is moral values. Gimpel's conscience does not allow him to perceive what is true and what is not true. Gimpel will end up feeling bad if he accuses someone of lying, so he perceives everyone as trying to tell the truth.. Gimpel sees everyone as trustworthy, hoping that they would have the same values as himself.
An even bigger and more complex conflict seems to arise between Gimpel himself. He is fearful of what others might think of him if he acts rationally. He believes he is going to offend them, when in reality he is offending himself. Again, this is an example of his conscience getting in his way. Gimpel says, "...the whole town came down on me! If I ever dared say, 'Ah, you're kidding!'" (Singer 62) Gimpel would rather look foolish than have to deal with the scrutiny of having to fight back. He even describes himself as a strong man who cannot be easily pushed around, but wants to avoid confrontation at all means possible. Gimpel himself creates the conflict between him and society.
The townspeople are to blame as well for this conflict. They have been able to intimidate Gimple into believing anything they say. Whenever Gimpel tries to confront them about their pranks they become outraged. As if there was no reason not to believe them. The town does a good job working as a collective group against Gimpel. They are careless, viscous, and do not know when to leave Gimple alone. They are the ones that shaped Gimpel into being a foolish man with all the ridicule they gave him.
Gimpel's wife is a symbol of how society has treated him. His wife did not respect him or care about him,...