Essay on Fool Me Once...

1149 Words Dec 2nd, 2013 5 Pages
Marylee Sumeriski
Dr. Bordelon
ENGL 152-04
28 February 2013
Fool Me Once… Gimpel in “Gimpel the Fool” by Isaac Bashevis Singer is, contrary to what the title implies, not a fool because of his morals, his faith in God, and his unshakable faith in humanity and human goodness. Gimpel considers himself a self-induced fool, so to speak. He is totally aware of the fact that the townspeople mock and play jokes on him – he almost encourages them to do so. But this, and the fact that Gimpel is so conscious of how the townspeople all peg him as the town idiot, is exactly what makes him the opposite of a fool. Singer gave Gimpel the ability to be a wise fool. Although oxymoronic, a wise fool is the perfect description for Gimpel of
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“What’s the good of not believing? Today it’s your wife you don’t believe; tomorrow it’s God Himself you won’t take stock in” (283). There are multiple instances where both the townspeople and Elka genuinely pull the wool over Gimpel’s eyes, and it is his sheer goodness and faith in humanity that allows him to not falter when he finds these things to be false. Right before Elka dies, she reveals to Gimpel “the children are not [his]” (285). Despite knowing this, he still loves all of the children and cares for them as if they were his own. And when he departed Frampol, he “took [his] hoard from its hiding place, and divided it among the children” (286). It is Gimpel’s goodness that makes him want to continue to care for the children, even after learning they were the product of Elka’s deceit and lack of loyalty. If Gimpel was truly a fool, he would not have been able to have so much compassion for these children. After Gimpel catches Elka in their bed with the apprentice, he accepts whatever story she tells him, and continues to build a life with her, despite warnings from the towns people and rabbis alike. The rabbi advises him to stay away from Elka, conversing with him about the man he saw laying with Elka: “"Why, but look here! You yourself saw it" (282). Gimpel’s goodhearted nature forces him to find the good in all people, even if it is not there to begin with. He vowed to live the

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