THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler is a novel about the life of a young man named Duddy Kravitz growing up on Montreal's St. Urbain street. The novel chronicles his life from when he was a troublesome school boy up until he was a young man of nineteen desperately trying to make something of himself and own his very own piece of land. Along the way to becoming a success Duddy has to stomp on a few toes, and screw over some good friends, and in the end he is left with all the land and money that he ever wanted, but no friends at all. In short Duddy Kravitz is the typical jackass. In his novel Richler describes various instances when Duddy is not loyal or nice to his close friends and is only interested in making money. In short Richler makes the point that in order to be successful you cannot play by the rules.
You have to stomp on a few toes and you may lose a few friends along the way.
Firstly Richler shows us in his novel how Duddy's character developed from a young age. The book starts out with Duddy as a fifteen year old attending high school. At the beginning of the book we find Duddy in a bitter conflict with a teacher at the school, Mr. MacPherson. As is seen in this dialogue: -"I know you're responsible for the drawing on the board and I think it cowardly of you not to have taken complete responsibility." said the teacher. -"I'm a coward. Who's afraid to strap who around here?" responded Duddy. We find that the young Duddy is a bit of a trouble maker, and we also see a very distinguishing trait that will carry out throughout the book, his stubbornness. Duddy absolutely refuses to let the teacher win any argument, and he will not stop until he is proven right. This trait when combined with a hard nosed attitude would result in Duddy becoming very successful in business, but not so successful in his social life.
Secondly we can point out numerous incidents within the book when Duddy screws over a friend in order to further his financial success, and an extremely poignant one is when he uses an innocent epileptic named Virgil in order to purchase a truck and further his business. What happens is that Duddy meets Virgil and finds out that he has one thousand dollars in his pocket. He persuades Virgil to cough up the one thousand dollars to buy a truck, and then Duddy would give Virgil a job as a truck driver for sixty dollars a week. The trick is that the truck is costing Duddy absolutely nothing, and he is screwing Virgil out of one thousand dollars. The downside to this for Duddy is that his girlfriend Yvette knows what he is doing and gets mad at him as is shown in this dialogue: -"How much are you paying for the truck?" -"It's a gift from Debrofsky's son in law to me. I'm getting it for nothing. I'm smart. Can I help it?" -"You can't do this to Virgil." -"What am I doing? Twisting his arms. I take a boy in off the streets and give him a job and..." As you can see from this dialogue Duddy can cheat a person like Virgil because he believes in his mind that he is doing him a favour. As you can see this attitude could cost him a lot of friends.
Finally we see in the novel how at the end Richler does not attempt to redeem the character of Duddy Kravitz. He ends the book as it started with Duddy having lost all of his friends, but having achieved success in the financial world happy as ever. As we can see from this excerpt from the novel : "Can't you ever smile?" asked Max Duddy's father to Duddy. -"I'm not driving back with you, " Duddy responded gruffly. "You take the Zeyda home. I'm going by bus." Duddy started for his father, but the waiter got in his way. "Mr. Kravitz?" He smiled shyly at Duddy, holding out the bill.
"Are you the Mr. Kravitz who just bought all that land round Lac St. Pierre?" -"Yeah. Em, I haven't any cash on me. Daddy, can you...?" -"That's all right, sir. We'll mark it." And suddenly Duddy did smile. He laughed. He grabbed Max, hugged him, and spun him around. "You see," he said, his voice filled with marvel. "You see." Even at the end of the book Duddy stands alone having been deserted by all of his friends, and yet he is still happier than ever about having made it in the world of business.
The novel The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler describes how one young man can become a huge success, by managing to use and manipulate everyone who dares be near to him. Duddy Kravitz the typical jackass, made it. He lied, he cheated, he stole, and he lost all of his friends but he made it which seems to be all that matters.