Critical Analysis: Is Gimpel Foolish or Wise?
Gimpel has been known and dealt with as a fool since his childhood which is why people tend to play different kinds of tricks on him. Although the village folks consider Gimpel a fool, yet he is actually a wise man. Gimpel’s wisdom reflects in his perception of himself, and of his family and folks that the author of the story has beautifully captured. Gimpel’s wisdom is also overt from the way he responds with complete faith to heckling, deception, and betrayal received over a lifetime. Gimpel never becomes resentful or cynical in spite of the fact that he is aware of his sufferings. He maintains a firm belief in the goodness of humanity irrespective of what befalls him. Gimpel shows love even for the children that he does not parent i.e. that are not his own children. The biggest proof of the wisdom of Gimpel is the fact that instead of seeking advice from the Devil, Gimpel retains firm belief in his religion. This shows that he has the wisdom to differentiate between the right path and the wrong path. It takes immense courage, patience, and obviously wisdom to accept a woman like Elka who is socially downgraded. In spite of her social status, Gimpel has an urge to provide her with a life that is respectable. It is only through wisdom that Gimpel has not only been able to successfully deal with the challenges of his own life, but also extend love and a helping hand for others.