Duddy Kravitz

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The novel, "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz", is based in Montreal in the twentieth century. Duddy Kravitz is a student from Fletcher Field High School and is a vengeful but hard working person. He leads the students in room 41 against the teachers in FFHS. Nevertheless, Duddy cares about his image and family, which promotes great irony in this novel.

Duddy is a seventeen years old young man who grew up in a poor Jewish family. He is a vengeful person and nobody can control him, not even his teachers. Mr. Macpherson is an example of a victim in the novel. This was seen when Mr. Macpherson was entering the school and was struck on the back of the neck by a snowball. This happened because he called Duddy's father "unfit to raise him" (pg.12). As a result, Duddy shows a spiteful trait, when it is revealed that he is responsible when he says "I should care," (pg.9).

Duddy is the only person who smokes in FFHS since all the students in this high school are expected to be a Jewish religious leaders in the future. However, through these incidents, the readers can understand that Duddy is completely annoyed by the rules and is, thus, an extremely revengeful person.

In the society's view of Duddy, he is a hard working ambitious young man trying to earn money. When Duddy was seven years old, his grandfather Simcha told him that, "A man without land is nobody."(pg.48). Since then, Duddy yearned to be a "˜somebody'. Thus, he idolizes the most famous gangster in Montreal, the Boy Wonder. When he was twelve, Duddy pursued some money through his comics rental business, which shows his business skills at a very young age. In the summer after graduating from FFHS, he went to work as a waiter in Rubin's Hotel. Since Duddy was hard working and was doing very well in the dining room, his boss gave him three extra tables for more tips. The idolization of Boy Wonder gave Duddy an image of pursuing money by working hard.

On the other hand, Duddy cares a lot about his own image. "As soon as I'm finished up at Fletcher's Field he wants me to come down to Arizona to help out on the ranch like."(pg.14). Duddy lied to his friends about having a rich brother; Bradley, because he wanted his friend to think he is great. In addition, he lied to Linda about his father who is doing transportation business. In fact, he does not have a rich brother and his father is just a cab driver. However, Duddy lies on his friends because he wanted to promote his own image, he tries to cover all his weaknesses by lying. As a result, he wants to impress others and he wants them to think that he is great.

Again, Duddy was born in a poor Jewish family. His grandfather, Simcha, was a shoemaker. Duddy lives with his older brother, Lennie and his father, Max. Compared to Duddy, Max and his uncle Benjy favours Lennie over Duddy because Lennie is a promising medicine student. Duddy loves his family members and he cares about what they are doing, but he expresses his love in a wrong way. "Duddy kicked an empty cigarette box with his toe. "˜Now will you go please?' Duddy hesitated." (pg.28). Max slapped Duddy because Duddy knows his secret with Josette. In fact, he shows his immature side by kicking the cigarette box; he is not willing to go home because he wants Max to spend more time on him. Duddy is lacking in love from his family, which he needs greatly.

Duddy is not a well-liked character in the novel. Although not popular, he arouses readers' sympathy because his family and friends do not appreciate him. Duddy is very self-conscious about his image and he wants everyone to admire him. Since Duddy wants to be a "˜somebody', he works very hard to earn as much money as he can to purchase his land. Also, Duddy is no different from the common person. He hides his weakness because he wants to protect his image; nevertheless, all of us are doing the same thing.