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Gimpel the Fool

Short Story Seminar

Summer Cromer

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of Gimpel the Fool

Gimpel the Fool By Isaac Bashevis Singer Singer Background Information 1904-1991
Jewish and comes from a family of rabbis
Born in Poland, but moved to the United States in 1935
Won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978 Style Many of his stories were originally written in Yiddish
His characters are Jewish
His stories focus on characters pursuing spiritual quest yet struggle with demons and other evil forces or succumb to material temptations and obsessions
Elements of Jewish folklore Other Works The Spinoza of Market Street (1961)
The Estate (1969)
Satan in Gorray (1935) Gimpel is the town's fool who falls for everyone's false claims. He is very passive, and he doesn't lash out at his tormentors even when they force him into a marriage. He is devoted to his religion; however, he will be tempted to get revenge on the town. Setting Frambol, Poland
Jewish community Point of View 1st person major -Gimpel tells the story of his life Tone Starts with a helpless tone
Switches to a dark tone at climax
Switches to a hopeful tone during falling action Characters Gimpel Narrator
The town fool
Dynamic Character Elka Gimpel's wife
Deceitful and unfaithful
Flat Character The Rabbi Provides spiritual guidance
Confidante character Exposition Gimpel tells us why he is known as Gimpel the fool. Rising Action Gimpel is forced to marry Elka and they have a family together Climax The Devil tempts Gimpel to get back at the villagers Falling Action Gimpel leaves Frambol and sees the world Denouement Gimpel is eagerly waiting for death so that he can be with Elka Themes Death Deceit Naivety " When the pranksters and the leg-pullers found that I was easy to fool, every one of them tried his luck with me. ... And I like a golem believed everyone." "When the time comes I ill go joyfully. Whatever may be there, it will be real, without complication, without ridicule, without deception. God be praised: there even Gimpel cannot be deceived." “Woe, Gimpel!"[Elka] said. "It was ugly how I deceived you all these years. I want to go to my Maker, and so I have to tell you that the children are not yours." Figurative Language Simile
"I worked like an ox."
story of Adam and Eve
"If I slapped someone he'd see all the way to Cracow." Special Topic Good vs. Evil & Jewish Folklore One of Singer's signatures in his short is that the main character is Jewish and goes through temptation where they have to fight evil and sin. Singer uses multiple references to Jewish terms through out his stories. Vocabulary Singer uses Jewish words, and when he describing Gimpel he uses words that relate to him being a fool 1. Ridicule 2. Abracadabras
3. Golem 4. Rook
5. Fool 6. Deceive
7. Kreplach 8. Muzzuzah
9. Welkin 10. Chalah
Full transcript