Gimpel the Fool Essay

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Judy Sobeloff is a writer and educator who has won several awards for her fiction. In the following essay, she discusses how the character of Gimpel represents the Yiddish archetype of the "schlemiel," the sainted fool, and notes how the structure of the story compares to the biblical story ofHosea.

"Gimpel the Fool" is widely viewed as Isaac Bashevis Singer's most popular short story. Singer originally wrote the story for a Yiddish newspaper, the Jewish Daily Forward, and then Saul Bellow translated it into English for The Partisan Review in 1953, bringing "Gimpel" and Singer to the attention of American readers. Gimpel is a kind and loving man who seems to be punished for his generosity. His willingness to believe the people around him—and to suffer as a result of believing them—is a virtue and remains one after everything else falls away. As critic Edward Alexander writes...

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This section contains 1,926 words
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Buy the Gimpel the Fool Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Gimpel the Fool from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.