The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz

by Mordecai Richler
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Discussing Duddy's coming of age in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in regards to the influencing elements of family and community.

In The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Duddy’s coming of age takes place without any positive influences from his family or the community. No one manages to impress upon him that owning land will bring him neither happiness nor wealth.

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Duddy pretty much comes of age on his own, and most of the influences around him seem to be negative. Although his mentors attempt to guide him, he sets out in pursuit of power and money rather than happiness.

Having developed a taste for petty crime as early as his high school years, Duddy decides that the key to success and wealth lies in buying a lakefront property in Quebec. His plan is to develop this land into a resort. While he is willing to work to earn the money he needs to make this dream a reality, it’s not all smooth sailing. He works with his various unsupportive mentors, who seem to do little more than attempt to tell him that his dreams will never be a reality.

Eventually, without any successful positive influence from his family or the community, he returns to his criminal ways in order to get the money for his land. Nothing goes according to plan for Duddy, and by the end of the story he has ruined his reputation and lost every penny that he ever had. He fails to recognize this, however, because he has his precious land. Although this land has failed to bring him wealth, success or happiness, he cannot see this bigger picture.

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