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Family Relationships in Duddy Kravitz

Essay by   •  April 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,647 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,887 Views

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Family Relationships In Duddy Kravitz

In the book The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, by Mordecai Richler, Duddy Kravitz is the apprentice of life. Duddy is trying to find out the truth about himself. Various people come in and out of his life and they all have a lesson to teach him. He must take all of these lessons and apply them to himself. The relationship Duddy has with his grandpa, father and uncle all help to shape Duddy's character throughout the novel. It is now Duddy's chance to ignore or act upon what these people have taught him and said to him.

Simcha and Duddy started off with a very strong relationship. Duddy had always wanted to please Simcha because he was the only one who truly respected, loved and cared for Duddy. He taught Duddy about gardening, they used to go out in the yard and work together. He talked to Duddy of his family and of what it is to be successful in life. Simcha also planted the dream of having land in Duddy's head when he said to him, " A man without land is nobody," (Richler, 49). Duddy took these words but forgot to distinguish what they meant. He failed to see that the achievement of a dream was nothing if it was not done in honesty. Duddy's relationship with Simcha showed and taught Duddy about having the strength and determination to achieve in his life. Duddy did what he could; he tried to do this for his grandfather.

Simcha had believed in Duddy but looks at him shamefully now. He knew the respect Duddy gained would be shallow. His pursuit of his dream caused him to destroy and trample on

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people in order to get what he wanted. What Duddy did to Virgil is exactly what his grandfather did not want to happen, " Duddy took a quick look at Virgil's bank balance, whistled, noted his account number and ripped out two cheques," (Richler, 364). He forged Virgil's signature and wrote himself a cheque for the land. He used the fact that Virgil was crippled and took advantage of him. People who respected Duddy looked upon his money and power. To Simcha money was nothing. He lived a life based on respect for character not money and possessions. Simcha's words impacted the life of Duddy in a way he did not want. It caused Duddy to become so caught up in his dream that he became a cheat and liar. Simcha no longer had the respect towards Duddy that he did before.

Duddy and his father Max share a very similar lifestyle. Max is a very underachieved man he is a respected man among his fellow taxi driver friends. He loves his son Lennie as his number one son, he adored the fact that Lennie was progressing in his life, going to school to become a doctor. He simply thought of Duddy just like himself, " Ixnay. He's not gonna be a sawbones. Duddy's a dope like me," (Richler, 20). Duddy definitely did not receive the same type of love and care that Simcha gave him from his father. Max had always treated Lennie with more love than Duddy. When Duddy had come back from work he asked why he didn't receive a reply to any of the letters he wrote his father, the answer he got was that Max wasn't one for letters. Duddy knew this was not true for when Lennie was away as a camp counsellor Max had written him letters. Max would respond eagerly, he had even gone up there twice to visit. Max would of never done that for Duddy. Duddy and Max both shared a great love and respect for Lennie. They were both affected greatly by different people and things in their lives.

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Max and Duddy were both affected by their wife and mother Minnie's death. Neither Max nor Duddy ever complained that it had been hard for them since she passed away. Max assumed that since she had died nine years before that it was why Duddy was so different and confusing. Max never bothered to fully understand him. All Duddy ever wanted to do was fool around and play poker. On the other hand Max was anxious for him to start a life, though he had absolutely no worries for Lennie, " On the other hand it drives its members mercilessly, partly by its intense ambition for its favoured sons and partly by the complexes it induces in those whom it regards as second-best," (Ower, 421-22). Max was also a pimp; the absence of a women figure is shown here. Max tried to replace the missing women with Josette and being a pimp. This hits Duddy very hard. The fact that Max is a pimp does not appeal to Duddy and shows that Max does not have great respect for women. This characteristic rubs off on Duddy with his treatment of Yvette.

Duddy had never really been loved by his family so when he found out Yvette cared about him he was ecstatic, "Duddy was surprised and flattered to discover that anyone cared enough to watch him so closely," (Richler, 101). Duddy eventually began to treat Yvette as a possession. Since Duddy could not legally own land he used Yvette so that he could put the land in her name, "Throughout his affair with a Quebecois girl Yvette, he plots to buy farmland north of Montreal, using Yvette as a front," (unknown, 377). The way Duddy treats her along with the fact that he is Jewish and she is not lead to the end of their relationship. Yvette tried to teach Duddy about relationships. She is his first girlfriend and the first known female figure to enter his life, in a long time. He does not know much about women, "You don't know how to treat a women. That's your trouble," (Richler, 275). She put up with all of Duddy's faults

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and constantly did him favours. He rewarded her by bribing her with money, " If you promise me that I'll give you fifty dollars," (Richler, 109). This shows similarity to his father's behaviour being a pimp. Duddy simply mistreats Yvette constantly.

Throughout the novel Max helps Duddy. Duddy wants so badly to see Boy Wonder about his business and getting his land, but Max continues to tell Duddy no because he is not quite ready. Eventually Max told Duddy that he had made an appointment for him with Boy Wonder, this shows Duddy that Max finally thinks he is truly ready to receive such an honour. This is the first good and loving thing Max had done for Duddy. Duddy is very disappointed with Max after the appointment. Boy Wonder did not even know who he was. The very ungrateful Duddy got upset with Max and told him off, " An intimate of boy wonder? Hah! He doesn't even know you from a hole in the ground," (Richler, 156). Later Duddy also needed to find a way to make more money so Max allowed him to use his taxi at

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