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Gimpel the Fool Essay examples

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Gimpel the Fool

The Pain in a Simple Man’s Life

Primary motives are described as needs that a person must meet in order to survive. The most widely recognized of these motives are the needs for food, water, sleep, air, and regulation of body temperature. However, one motive that is commonly overlooked by society is that of pain avoidance. The undesired pain may be stemmed from either physical or emotional situations or a combination of the two. If one is not prepared to eliminate the source of the pain, then he/she may choose to ignore the painful situation rather than allow him/herself to become upset. The character Gimpel in Isaac Singer’s short story entitled “Gimpel the Fool” centers his entire livelihood on one of his more
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He comments saying that, “If I ever dared to say, ’Ah, you’re kidding!’ there was trouble. People got angry” (412). With comments such as this, Gimpel shows his need for complete happiness in his life, even if the happiness is at his personal expense.

Gimpel avoids pain not only from the townspeople, but from his wife as well. His wife, Elka, is a very promiscuous woman by nature and she chooses to be unfaithful to Gimpel. However again, Gimpel chooses to evade the truth of the matter to keep from being hurt. One way he [Gimpel] shows the reader how he avoids emotional pain is when he caught Elka in bed with another man. At first, he could not accept what his wife was doing to their marriage and his reputation. However as the pain of being alone increased each day, Gimpel decides to forget the entire incident and forces himself to lie about what he saw. Gimpel says to himself, “Hallucinations do happen. And if that’s so, I’m doing her [his wife] an injustice,” proving that he twists the truth into something that he can accept (416). Gimpel’s mind works in a way that he allows himself to think that he is suffering from a kind of dementia to avoid the painful truth regarding his wife. He also avoids the embarrassment and humiliation of recognizing that the children are not his. Elka had birthed six children, none of which had been fathered by Gimpel. Gimpel knows that the children are
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