Gimpel the Fool


Isaac Bashevis Singer

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Gimpel the Fool Characters


Gimpel is the narrator and protagonist of the story, and is characterized by his gullibility, gentleness, open-mindedness, kindness, and moral strength. A resident of the small Polish town of Frampol, he is orphaned early and… read analysis of Gimpel


Gimpel’s wife, Elka, is a very tough woman, fond of shockingly vulgar language and getting her own way. She has already had several relationships before meeting Gimpel: two previous husbands (one who died and… read analysis of Elka

The Spirit of Evil

Shortly after Elka’s death, the story’s main antagonist, The Spirit of Evil—a classic demon figure, with horns, pointy teeth, a tail, and a goatee—appears to Gimpel in his sleep and encourages him to get revenge… read analysis of The Spirit of Evil

The Rabbi

The rabbi is the chief religious authority in Frampol. He is one of the few people in the town who shows kindness and respect to Gimpel, and Gimpel frequently turns to him for advice… read analysis of The Rabbi

The Apprentice

While separated from Elka, Gimpel becomes friendly with an apprentice at the bakery. The apprentice lives near Elka and helps ferry food to her and the children, since the rabbi has forbidden Gimpel to… read analysis of The Apprentice
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Yechiel is Elka’s bastard child, fathered by some unknown lover. He is already born when Gimpel first meets Elka, and Elka claims that he is her little brother. Yechiel and Gimpel do not get… read analysis of Yechiel

The “Premature” Son

Four months after Gimpel and Elka’s wedding, Elka gives birth to a baby boy. This greatly angers Gimpel, as he figures that there is no way he can be the father’s child. Elka insists… read analysis of The “Premature” Son

The Daughter Born During Gimpel and Elka’s Separation

During the time that Gimpel and Elka are separated, while the rabbis discuss whether it would be appropriate for them to resume their marriage, Elka gives birth to a daughter, whom Gimpel names after Elka’s… read analysis of The Daughter Born During Gimpel and Elka’s Separation

The Rabbi’s Daughter

One day, after coming out of an uplifting meeting with the rabbi, Gimpel encounters the rabbi’s daughter. She reminds Gimpel that he needs to kiss the wall. He is surprised, as he has never… read analysis of The Rabbi’s Daughter