– Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Essay, Research Paper
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz–Insecurities of Duddy
Question #3: Duddy hides his insecurities from himself and others. He
is afraid to ask his father if his mother had liked him. What does this
reveal about Duddy? Why do we often hide our fears?
Two thousand years ago, Jesus had said,”Man does not live by bread
alone.” This is true, for other than physiological needs, man also has
other basic necessities. As outlined in an article written by Professor
A. H. Maslow called “A Theory of Human Motivation”, these basic
necessities include a person?s desire for security, love, esteem and
self-actualization. Thus, when Duddy hides his fears from others and
himself, he is only pursuing a sense of safety, which is one of the
human fundamental needs.
A person?s self-projected image is very important. We often hide our
own fears because we do not want to acknowledge our dreads. We are
afraid that if we show our dreads, our images as great persons will be
ruined. People want to feel important, significant and superior; people
do not want to feel inferior, subordinate and insignificant. We are
afraid that if we concede our fears, others will dismiss us as
unimportant. This is even more true for an ambitious young man like
Duddy. He springs from humble beginnings, but clearly, he is very eager
to become a successful and powerful man. “…his bony cheeks were
criss-crossed with scratches as he shaved twice daily in his attempt to
encourage a beard.” This clearly indicates to the readers that Duddy
wants and tries to be someone that he is not. He wants himself and
others to think that he is of great significance. The fact that his
friends, family and others reject him make his self-projected image even
more preponderant. He must convince himself and others that he is a
very important figure and he does this by denying his insecurities.
Duddy is not a very well-liked figure in the novel. He arouses
readers? sympathy because his family and friends do not appreciate him.
There is much evidence of this throughout the novel. Perhaps the best
illustration of this is when Duddy returns from St. Agathe with six
expensive sport shirts for Max as a gift, but only to find out that his
father is not interested in the gift. Duddy is not loved in his family,
yet he needs love desperately. Since his father, uncle and brother do
not love him, his desire for love is projected onto his dead mother.
Everyone needs to love and needs to be loved, and it is very reasonable
for Duddy to inquire about his mother. But Duddy does not dare to ask
his father if his dead mother had liked him because if he exposes his
sensitive nature, he will ruin the image that he has been trying to
build up for himself. And what if his father tells him that his mother
did not like him? He cannot take the risk of losing his image, only to
find out that his mother had not liked him. He cannot let his fears be
Other than hiding his fears, Duddy also keeps his image by crazily
pursuing money. He does this because he does not want his family,
friends and all the people around him to despise him. He tries
desperately to be “somebody”. Jerry Dingleman, the Boy Wonder comments,
“There?s something wrong. A mistake somewhere when a boy your age is
already pursuing money like he had a hot poker up his ass.” But the
truth is that Duddy is only following one of the human drives. He
pursues money for the same reason as he hides h>
is self-image and to make others think him worthy.
People are often very conscientious about their own images. This is
why we curse acquaintances who slander us. We want people to think us
great. Trying to be significant is simply one of the human drives. We
try to cover all our weaknesses, all our faults and all our fears,
because we want to impress others and we want them to think us great.
If we say that we do not care what people think of us, we are only lying
to ourselves. And Duddy is no different from an ordinary human being.
He hides his fears because he must protect his own image. And all of us
– perhaps to a lesser extent — is doing the exact same thing.
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