Fool Me Once... Essay

1154 Words5 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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This trait makes Gimpel not only courageous, but selfless. Throughout the story, Gimpel’s faith in God is tried and tried through multiple obstacles and complications. But despite the whole world seeming to be against him, his faith in God and His powers remains unwavering and true. In the beginning of the story, writer Daniel Fraustino notes that Gimpel “is able to weather [the townspeople’s] humiliation through his simple faith in God and the Bible.” It is hard to believe that anyone could withstand such faith in any higher power with all the trickery that Gimpel is forced to face, but he perseveres. When Elka, Gimpel’s wife, births a child only 4 months into their marriage, Gimpel is skeptical of whether or not the child could be his. He tells her, “You have borne a bastard” (280). Gimpel continues to be unconvinced, “To tell the plain truth, I didn’t believe her” (281), until he speaks with the school-master and “he told [Gimpel] that the very same thing had happened to Adam and Eve” (281). Later on, Gimpel catches his wife sleeping with another man beside her. Instead of confronting Elka about the man, he goes to the rabbi. When the rabbi does not permit Gimpel to see Elka or their child, Gimpel begins to regret saying anything at all, so he resolves to fix everything. “In the morning I went to the rabbi and told him

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