Gimpel the Fool

by

Isaac Bashevis Singer

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The Apprentice Character Analysis

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 visit them. Originally, Gimpel disliked the apprentice, who was not the most respectful to him, liking to have fun at his expense. But once they start seeing more of each other, Gimpel decides that the apprentice is actually a very pleasant and generous person, and that he must have judged him too quickly. Understandably, Gimpel feels deeply betrayed when, after finally being allowed to return home to Elka, he finds the apprentice in bed with her. What is worse still, later that night, after the apprentice has gone home, Elka insists to Gimpel that he imagined the whole thing. The next day, the apprentice assists with the gaslighting, opining that Gimpel must “have a screw loose.”
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The Apprentice Character Timeline in Gimpel the Fool

The timeline below shows where the character The Apprentice appears in Gimpel the Fool. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
Because he is not allowed to go home, Gimpel has an apprentice at the bakery transport food to Elka and the children. Gimpel initially disliked the apprentice,... (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
...yet again sleeping beside another man, and this time it is none other than the apprentice. (full context)
The Real vs. The Imaginary  Theme Icon
...he decides to go back and confront Elka. When he returns to his wife, the apprentice is gone. Gimpel asks her where the man is, to which Elka replies angrily that... (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
The Real vs. The Imaginary  Theme Icon
Confused and embarrassed, Gimpel simply resolves to believe Elka and the apprentice, and, in addition, never again to doubt what he is told. And for the next... (full context)