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Behind Duddy Kravitz's Unsuccessful Relationship
Transcript of Behind Duddy Kravitz's Unsuccessful Relationship
Duddy's Mistreatment of his friend Virgil
Virgil is an honest being who shows Duddy much admiration. This sudden feeling of being loved without working for it goes to Duddy’s head as he takes full advantage of Virgil.
Duddy's Mistreatment of Yvette
Duddy’s mistreatment of Yvette, which was initiated by his upbringing and mistreatment of others, is the ultimate reason the relationship between Duddy and Yvette was unsuccessful.
Duddy Kravitz cannot find success in his romantic relationship with Yvette Durelle because of his upbringing, mistreatment of his friend Virgil and, eventually, his mistreatment of Yvette.
Unfortunetly, the happy couple in this picture do not stay happy for too long...
Duddy's Mistreatment of Yvette
What went wrong in Duddy Kravitz's romantic relationship?
Throughout the novel, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler, protagonist Duddy Kravitz embarks himself on a journey to own land. Sadly, throughout this journey, Duddy's realtionship with his partner Yvette diminishes. Using psychoanalytic criticism it is possible to develop a psychological analysis of Duddy to determine why his relationship failed. Psychoanalytic criticism is based on psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s idea that the human psyche has three different components, which generate complicated human actions:
Virgil loves Duddy and always seems to be thanking him!
Duddy's Mistreatment of his friend Virgil
Keep in mind that in this photo, Duddy is in the background, while his father and uncle look towards his aboudning brother, Lennie.
What went wrong?
Let the investigavtion begin!
When psychoanalyzing the character Duddy Kravitz, it is clear that he is the perpetrator of his unsuccessful romantic relationship with Yvette. Duddy is unable to maintain a succesful relationship with his partner Yvette for 3 reasons:
Duddy struggles to recive recongnition and love from his father
Duddy looks for some attention from his brother, but is unable to acquire that either
“Duddy,” Lennie said, “how many times have I asked you not to barge in here when I’m studying?”
Duddy’s face flushed.
“Look, Duddy, half the guys who flunk out do it in their second year. Anatomy’s the big killer. Your supper is on the kitchen table.” (21).
Duddy begins to talk back to his father leading to physical abuse
“Translate into lifelong consequences including low self-esteem, depression, and relationship difficulties” (Do Something Organization, “Background on Child Abuse”).
In his childhood, attaining admiration and attention from his family was a constant struggle for Duddy Kravitz, thus setting him up for love being a ceaseless conflict in the future.
Duddy’s father, Max, quickly dismisses the subject of Duddy and immediately switches the topic to his prosperous son Lennie.
Duddy is unable to catch any responsiveness from his brother and feels isolated.
Duddy’s father slaps him across the face when he feels Duddy is “out of line”. Abuse has many psychological effects and according to the Do Something Organization:
Though physically abusing a child in the 1940s was considered “ordinary”, it is proven that it may cause relationship difficulties in the future of the abused victim.
Duddy takes advantage of Virgil
“You’ll never regret this, Mr. Kravtiz. I’ll work so hard.”
“There’s only one thing. I need a man with a truck.”
“You know. A small panel job.”
“What’s the matter with you two? That’s no problem. Look Virgie. I owe you a thousand bucks. Right? Right.”
“Duddy.” Yvette began apprehensively. But he looked at her sharply and she sat down again.
“What would you say if for that thousand bucks I could put my hands on just the truck for you?”
“Could you, Mr. Kravitz?” (215).
Duddy owes Virgil money Duddy does not have. Instead of paying him back, Duddy convinces Virgil of a way in which he does not have to pay him back that benefits Duddy, by offering him a job.
Duddy scams Virgil into believing that this job benefits him, when in reality it benefits Duddy much more.
Duddy puts Virgil's life in danger
Duddy hires Virgil to drive a truck around for him, even though Virgil’s epilepsy poses the risk of him having a seizure at the wheel
“Despite this contrast and Duddy's ability to manipulate Virgil over the job and truck, Duddy is innocent of any real knowledge of epilepsy and certainly less informed than Virgil in this regard,” (Wainwright, “Neither Jekyll Nor Hyde: In Defence of Duddy Kravitz.”).
Duddy should not have let Virgil drive a truck for his business without knowing for a fact that Virgil’s safety would not be a concern.
Duddy cheats Virgil
“Duddy took a quick look at Virgil’s bank balance, whistled, noted his account number and ripped out two cheques.” (307).
Though Virgil specifically told Duddy that he could not lend him any money, Duddy resorts in stealing from Virgil and believes that he will forgive him just like he has countless other times.
“Yvette is easily the character who expresses the most genuine affection for Duddy, and, thus, the character he has the hardest time dealing with.” (Snyder, “In Defence of Duddy Kravitz”).
Duddy manipulates Yvette
Yvette’s love for Duddy is true, and she expresses that love to him, but Duddy cannot express his love for her or does not feel it in his heart. Consequently, he takes from it, by demanding things from her.
Yvette wanted to wait, but Duddy insisted and they made love on the carpet.
“I don’t get it,” Duddy said. “Imagine guys getting married and tying themselves down to one single broad for a whole lifetime when there’s just so much stuff around,”
“People fall in love,” Yvette said. “It happens.”
“Planes crash too,” Duddy said. “Listen, I’ve got an important letter to write. We’ll eat soon. OK?”
She didn’t answer and Duddy began to type. (191).
Duddy finds other ways he can gain from their relationship
“The farmers would be wary of a young Jew, they might jack up prices or even refuse to sell, but another French-Canadian would not be suspect,” (100).
Duddy uses Yvette’s religious background and French-Canadian name to make sure the land he wanted to buy would get sold to him and for a fair price.
Duddy abuses Yvette
“We could get married,” he said, “You know.”
“Are you beginning to worry that the deeds are in my name?”
Duddy slapped her hard across the face. “Get out of here,” he shouted. (249).
Duddy’s violent and irrational behaviour towards Yvette puts an ultimate gap in their relationship and proves Duddy has no respect for her as a human being.
Duddy treats Yvette like a puppet. He abuses her verbally and physically putting a final close to their relationship and resulting in him being unsuccessful in the field of love.
the impulsive portion of the human mind
the fragment of the mind that operates according to reality
the segment of the mind that incorporates morals of society
“That’s Lennie?” Drapeau asked.
“Ixnay. He’s not gonna be a sawbones. Duddy’s a dope like me. Aren’t you kid?”
He rumpled the boys snow-caked hair.
“Lennie’s twenty-one. He’s had scholarships all through school.” (23).
Duddy’s powerful id and weak superego cause complications in this aspect of the relationship. “In Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the pleasure principle is the driving force of the id that seeks immediate gratification of all needs, wants, and urges. In other words, the pleasure principle strives to fulfill our most basic and primitive urges, including hunger, thirst, anger, and sex. When these needs are not met, the result is a state of anxiety or tension.” (Cherry, “Pleasure Principle”). Yvette has sex with Duddy to please him, and avoid him from entering a state of tension with her
In the end, all Yvette can say to Duddy is: “I think you’re rotten. I wish you were dead.” (318). It is clear Duddy is rotten in the aspect of romantic relationships.
However, is all sympathy for Duddy lost?
Here, Duddy’s powerful id, the spontaneous part of the mind that satisfies impulses right away without being affected by reality, allows his desires to take over his moral views and treat Virgil wrongly in the views of society.
This upbringing causes Duddy to have a very weak superego. “A weak superego, developed as a result of abnormal relationships within the family, would result in a person with few if any of the usual inhibitions against antisocial behaviour. They would act in ways that gratified their id, regardless of the social restraints on doing so.” (Sammons, “Psychodynamic Theories of Offending”). Duddy’s isolated upbringing is clearly full of emotional and physical abuse, which leads to further relationship difficulties in the future.
By: Rhea Ntakos
Duddy’s friendship with Virgil makes Duddy feel powerful from the unconditional love he receives. This superiority makes Duddy believe that he can manipulate those who love him. Duddy no longer feels as though he has to earn love and respect the way he did from his family and brings this mindset into his romantic relationship with Yvette.
His lack of a superego and excess of an id cause Duddy to seek immediate gratification for his desires without thinking about the possible effects they may have.
Works Cited Continued