It features a kind of character associated with Singer—"the wise or sainted fool," in Irving Howe's phrase. Singer subtly subverts the customary associations of "fool" from the very beginning of his story.
Southern Illinois University Press, The idiot was regarded in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance as being under the special protection of God. The court jester was either a feeble-minded person or a lunatic who evoked amusement by his inaneness or his antics.
He might also be someone who pretended to be a fool and used his assumed folly as a license for his wit. He knows the ways of the world and exposes the folly of Lear in seeking to give up power but to retain the pomp of power.
Paradoxically, however, while mocking Kent for foolishly following someone who has given up his power, he himself remains faithful to Lear. In doing so, he is following a higher wisdom than worldly wisdom.
This is the wisdom of St. Paul, who warned that those whom the world regarded as wise must become fools in the eyes of the world if they were to become genuinely wise.
They must become as the little children of whom Christ spoke. The heyday of the wise fool was in Renaissance literature. It is this mixture which, as we shall see in analyzing the story, is the source of its pervasive irony.
Singer stated in a Commentary interview on November, that it would be foolish to believe the purveyors of fantasies about psychic phenomena—just as it was foolish of Gimpel to believe the fantastic lies he was told—yet the universe is mysterious, and there is something of truth after all in these fantasies, at least a revelation concerning the depths of the human psyche from which these fantasies emerged and perhaps something more as well.
Gimpel is the butt of his village because of his credulity. But is he the fool that the village takes him to be? Telling his story himself, he affirms his own folly in his very first words: Are we to take what she has to say seriously?
Her oration is in the form of a mock encomium, that is, it is an ironic praising of folly which, it would seem, should be read as the opposite, as a censuring of folly.
But then, it is delivered by Folly herself. If Folly censures folly, then it would seem as if Wisdom should praise it. But if Wisdom praises folly and Folly censures it, how are we to know which is Wisdom and which is Folly? But how was he to know that he was being lied to: So too, when he took a detour because he heard a dog barking, how was he to know that it was a mischievous rogue imitating a dog?
These excuses of Gimpel sound plausible enough, the first as well as the second. Each birth is unexpected and comes as a kind of miracle that may happen to any woman. But as Gimpel continues to explain that he was not really a fool, we see that he was indeed stupidly credulous, accepting the most fantastic stories which all the villagers conspired together to make him believe.
Working as an apprentice in the bakery after he left school, he was subjected to a never ending flow of accounts of alleged wonders, each more silly than the other. But, as outrageously ridiculous as the stories are, there is still some uncertainty about how utterly a fool Gimpel is.
Yet it was not merely a pretended belief. For always there would come the thought: When he was told that the Messiah had come and that his parents had risen from the grave, he knew very well, he informs us, that nothing of the sort had occurred, but nevertheless he went out.
What did I stand to lose by looking? Moreover, he came to believe not merely because he was talked into it but also because he wanted to believe.
When he was derisively matched with the village prostitute, he knew very well what she was, that her limp was not, as alleged, a coy affectation and that her supposed little brother was actually her bastard child. But, after having been pushed into marriage with her by the entire village, he grew to love her and the uncertain belief in her virtue to which he had been persuaded became a determinedly held belief against all the evidence.
At this point in his narrative Gimpel, the husband of the sharp-tongued Elka, becomes both a henpecked husband and a cuckold, the two figures who have been objects of mirth through the centuries and have often as here been combined in the same person. With comic repetition each time the truth is revealed to him he is talked out of it or talks himself out of it.
“Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Beshevis Singer I am Gimpel the fool. I don't think myself a fool. On the contrary. But that's what folks call me. Isaac Bashevis Singer (November 21, – July 24, ) was a leading author in the Yiddish literature. He was an American who was born in Poland. He won the Nobel Prize in literature. Examines the life and literary works of the New York-based writer, Isaac Bashevis Singer. Achievements and contributions to literature; Popularity of his works including "In My Father's Court" and "Gimpel the Fool"; Reputation and popularity in writing short stories, fables, legends and medieval.
Elka bears a child seventeen weeks after the wedding, but after a period of pain he allows himself, having grown to love the child, to believe that it is his.
She bears another child after a separation of more than nine months. The village laughs, but Gimpel accepts it as his. He finds Elka in bed with another man, but after a period of painful separation persuades himself to accept her story that it was an illusion.A Literary Analysis of Singer's Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis PAGES 2.
WORDS 1, View Full Essay. More essays like this: frampol, gimpel the fool, isaac bashevis singer. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.
Exactly what I needed. “Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Beshevis Singer I am Gimpel the fool. I don't think myself a fool.
On the contrary. But that's what folks call me. Dec 26, · Gimpel is the narrator and quasi hero of "Gimpel the Fool," Isaac Bashevis Singer's best-known and most widely anthologized short story, and one of the most perplexing characters in modern literature. Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first collection of stories, Gimpel the Fool, is a landmark work that has attracted international acclaim since it was first published in In Saul Bellow’s masterly translation, the title story follows the exploits /5.
Through clever characterization, underlying symbolism, and an in-depth point of view, the short story "Gimpel the Fool", written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, clearly reinforces the age-old concept that repentance, along with good deeds, will ultimately be rewarded in time.
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.