Gimpel the Fool

by

Isaac Bashevis Singer

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The Town of Frampol Symbol Icon

The town of Frampol is the setting of “Gimpel the Fool,” but it also functions as an important symbol in the story of the limitations of our small earthly lives compared to the life to come. The small-minded townspeople never think of themselves in connection with anyone or anything beyond the borders of Frampol. That, for instance, the Czar should have even the remotest interest in Frampol is a hilarious joke to them. And part of the reason they find unlikely scenarios so ridiculous stems from their confinement to such a small place and their extremely limited experience of the wider world. When Gimpel finally decides to leave Frampol, he tells his neighbors that he is setting out “into the world.” He is itching to get acquainted with a wider range of environments and cultures than what he has always known in this one tiny community. What he discovers on his explorations is that the world really is much vaster and more varied than it would seem from insular Frampol. Gimpel’s realization that his hyper-local, repetitive, slightly claustrophobic existence in Frampol is embedded in a much more complex and colorful one actually mirrors his contemplation of the distance between this world, the world of the living, to the next world, the afterlife, God’s world. This world, Gimpel realizes, like Frampol beside that rich world around it, pales in comparison with the grandeur of what is to come.

The Town of Frampol Quotes in Gimpel the Fool

The Gimpel the Fool quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Town of Frampol. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Gimpel the Fool published in 1983.
Part 1 Quotes

To tell the truth, I knew very well that nothing of the sort had happened, but all the same, as folks were talking, I threw on my wool vest and went out. Maybe something had happened. What did I stand to lose by looking?

Related Characters: Gimpel (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Town of Frampol
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

“It is written, better to be a fool all your days than for one hour to be evil. You are not a fool. They are the fools. For he who causes his neighbor to feel shame loses Paradise himself.”

Related Characters: The Rabbi (speaker), Gimpel
Related Symbols: The Town of Frampol
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4 Quotes

‘Let the sages of Frampol eat filth.’

‘What about the judgment in the world to come?’ I said.

‘There is no world to come,’ he said. “They’ve sold you a bill of goods and talked you into believing you carried a cat in your belly. What nonsense!’ ‘Well then,’ I said, ‘And is there a God?’

He answered, ‘There is no God either.’

‘What,’ I said, ‘is there, then?’

‘A thick mire.’

Related Characters: Gimpel (speaker), The Spirit of Evil (speaker)
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

I heard a great deal, many lies and falsehoods, but the longer I lived, the more I understood that there were really no lies. Whatever doesn’t really happen is dreamed at night. It happens to one if it doesn’t happen to another, tomorrow if not today, or a century hence if not next year. What difference does it make? Often I heard tales of which I said, ‘Now this is a thing that cannot happen.’ But before a year had elapsed I heard that it had actually come to pass somewhere.

Related Characters: Gimpel (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Town of Frampol
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is only once removed from the real world….Whatever may be there, it will be real, without complication, without ridicule, without deception. God be praised: there even Gimpel cannot be deceived.

Related Characters: Gimpel (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Town of Frampol
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
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Gimpel the Fool PDF

The Town of Frampol Symbol Timeline in Gimpel the Fool

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Town of Frampol appears in Gimpel the Fool. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
...narrator, introduces himself by the nickname he has long been called in the village of Frampol: “Gimpel the Fool.” He does not agree that he is a fool but explains that... (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
...have been constantly pranking him. They tell him outlandish stories: the Czar is coming to Frampol; the moon has fallen down; a little girl found a treasure behind an outhouse; the... (full context)
Part 4
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
...that Gimpel use his urine to make the bread he sells to his neighbors in Frampol. Gimpel asks whether he would be judged for such a deed in the next life.... (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
The Real vs. The Imaginary  Theme Icon
...that he has now gotten his revenge for all the times that the people of Frampol have shamed him. While the bread is baking, he dozes off again, only to find... (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
The Real vs. The Imaginary  Theme Icon
...where he is going. “Into the world,” he says. These are his last moments in Frampol. (full context)
Credulity as Wisdom and Holy Faith  Theme Icon
Punishment vs. Forgiveness  Theme Icon
The Real vs. The Imaginary  Theme Icon
...his dreams repeat themselves, too. Very often, when he sleeps, he finds himself back in Frampol, face to face with Elka. She is standing by the tub, just like when he... (full context)