Duddy Kravitz is the younger son in his family, and so feels the need to prove himself to his family and the world. His mother died when he was young, and his father, Max, is an uneducated man who drives a taxi and sometimes works as a pimp. This gives Duddy the impression that he does not need to always act within the law to get his results; he learns from his father that ethical morality is not necessarily required, and that laws are made to be bent, not served.
Duddy smiled; he laughed.
"Jeez," he said proudly. "That's something. Jeez."
Max slapped his face so hard that Duddy lost his balance and fell against the counter.
"You're a pimp."
"Get out, Duddy."
Duddy got up and ran.
(Richler, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Google Books)
Max is ashamed of his profession, and wishes that his sons would achieve more than he has in life. Because he has no mother to soften his father's abrasive attitudes, Duddy slowly loses any idealism he has had and makes his money and success through increasingly unethical means. He takes his grandfather's maxim that land is essential to one's reputation to heart; in the end of the story, his father seems proud of him at last, but he is actually only using Duddy as something to boast about, to boost his own meager achievements.