The Tragic Fall Of Duddy Essay, Research Paper
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz–The Tragic Fall of Duddy A man must pursue his dreams. This is certainly true for everyone ofthe humankind, for if there were no dreams, there would be no reason tolive. Duddy Kravitz understands this perfectly, that is why he is oneof the most ambitious young men of his time. From the moment he hearshis grandfather says, “A man without land is nobody,” he is prepared toseek the land of his dream — no matter what the cost would be. Thisambition of his is very respectable, but unfortunately his methods aredamnable. Duddy is a relentless pursuer; a formidable competitor andalso a ruthless manipulator. It is true that he has obtained all theland that he desires at the end, but he succeeds through immoral,despicable and contemptible means. It is clear then, that Duddy hasfailed in his apprenticeship and has become the “scheming littlebastard” that Uncle Benjy has warned him against. There is no doubt that Duddy is very shrewd and clever, but his lack ofmoral principles attributes to his final failure. In fact, hisimmorality can be traced back to a very young age. During his study inthe parochial school, he already earns money through methods that hardlycomply to virtues of any kind. Taking advantage of the fact that minorscannot be sued in Canada, Duddy defrauds stamp companies and sellsstolen hockey sticks. Perhaps he cannot distinguish right from wrong;perhaps he does not care, but nonetheless it is not proper for him toengage himself into these kinds of activities. Duddy emerges himself deeper into the sea of corruption when heestablishes Dudley Kane Enterprises. With his limited knowledge ofmovie making and his mistaken trust in John Friar, his firm producesbar-mitzvah films of extremely poor quality. The bar-mitzvah film forMr. Cohen, for example, is obviously a failing product. “Duddy didn tsay a word all through the screening but afterwards he was sick to hisstomach.” After the screening, Duddy says to Mr. Friar, “I could sellMr. Cohen a dead horse easier than this pile of –.” However,realizing the obvious faultiness of the film, Duddy does not talkcandidly to his client. Instead, he untruthfully says that the film isa phenomenal piece of art and that he is entering it into the CannesFestival. By doing so, he deceives the Cohen family into buying thedefective bar-mitzvah film of Bernie. As a matter of fact, Kravitz is not only skillful in handlingsituations, but he is also very apt in manipulating people. This can beclearly seen in his relationships with Virgil and Yvette. Duddy is never loved in his family, so originally Duddy is quitecontent to know that there is someone who cares about him — Yvette. Hefinds great comradeship in her and has also enjoyed great sex with her.But as time passes by, Yvette becomes only a tool to him. He uses heras a medium through which he can buy the land that he lusts for; becausehe is a minor and he cannot legally own land. “The farmers would bewary of a young Jew, they might jack up prices or even refuse to sell,but another French-Canadian would not be suspect.” Duddy also treatsher as a sexual toy. He makes love with Yvette whenever he wants it,
but he does not take Yvette s feelings into consideration: “Yvettewanted to wait, but Duddy insisted, and they made love on the carpet.” He never pays any respect to Yvette and he does “…not know how totreat a woman.” With Virgil, Duddy takes advantage of his physical disabilities. Afterselling the pinball machines that Virgil brought him to ease hisfinancial troubles, Duddy does not want to repay Virgil. Using the factthat Virgil is an epileptic and that it is very difficult for him to behired, Duddy employs him as a driver. But Duddy tells him that a truckwould be necessary for the task, and that he can provide Virgil with theperfect vehicle for one thousand dollars — the exact amount that heowes Virgil. Virgil is innocent enough not to know what is happening.He is also very grateful and flattered to know that Mr. Kravitz iswilling to hire him. He accepts the job immediately, and thus, Duddydoes not need to reimburse Virgil. It is quite ironic that Duddy, beingsuch a good manipulator of people, is later being used by his Bohemianfriends when they come to his apartment every night to party, eat anddrink — all to Duddy s expense. After Duddy has engaged himself into all kinds of deceitful activities,he bankrupts and is on the verge of a mental breakdown. At that point,Uncle Benjy s letter reveals to Duddy that he must make a very seriousdecision:There s more to you than mere money-lust, Duddy, but I m afraid foryou. You re two people, that s why. The scheming little bastard I sawso easily and the fine, intelligent boy underneath that your grandfather, bless him, saw. But you re coming of age soon and you ll haveto choose. A boy can be two, three, four potential people, but a man isonly one. He murders the others.Duddy must now choose to the way that he will live on for the rest ofhis life. He may continue on to live the way that he has always livedand be a complete amoral criminal, or he can abandon his money-lustingand become a fine shrewd gentleman. The time has come for him to choosewhat is to become of himself. But at this point, Duddy performs themost dirty, sickening and contemptible act in his apprenticeship. Heforges Virgil s cheque in order to buy the final parcel of land: “Duddytook a quick look at Virgil s bank balance, whistled, noted his accountnumber and ripped out two cheques. He forged the signature by holdingthe cheque and a letter Virgil had signed up to the window and tracingslowly.” This is a clear indication that Duddy has chosen to becomethe inconsiderate “scheming little bastard”. He has murdered all theother good possibilities of himself. Duddy has obviously chosen the wrong kind of man to be. He has chosento become a crooked person, a corrupted chap, and a ruthless man.Undoubtedly, Duddy is a very keen and intuitive young man. He cancalmly and gracefully settle Lennie s problems with Mr. Calder. He canalso tactfully and intelligently get Aunt Ida going back to Montreal tosee the dying Uncle Benjy. Duddy has all the qualities that is neededfor him to succeed in society — it is only a matter of time.Unfortunately, Duddy chooses the wrong path at a young age and continueson with that path to his adulthood. He ends up to be a terriblefailure. Perhaps his lack of discipline from his early years is one ofthe most important attributes to his tragic fall in The Apprenticeshipof Duddy Kravitz.