What is the tone of the story "Gimpel The Fool"?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story, "Gimpel the Fool" is written in an honest, literal, simplistic tone, devoid of sarcasm from the narrator.  Instead, the irony is situational: Gimpel is a fool only because people think it so, and he good-naturedly believes it too, only because it doesn't matter what people think of him.

The story is a parable, a kind of morality tale.  In this way, we have a reliable narrator.  The story, however, is humorous, because Gimpel is just as he says he is:

I am Gimpel the fool.  I don’t think myself a fool.  On the contrary.  But that’s what folks call me...

And yet, he's not.  What Gimpel is in public, he is not in private.  When it comes to spirituality and matters of the heart, Gimpel is no fool.  Rather, he is a believer, an optimist, a man of his word.  He knows his wife is cheating on him, and yet he still loves her.  He says:

What’s the good of not believing? Today it’s your wife you don’t believe; tomorrow it’s God you won’t take stock in.

Singer's tone suggests that the reader and the townspeople should reconsider their definitions of "fool," for a fool in this life may be in heaven in the next.

mkcapen1 | Student

The story "Gimpel the Fool" is told in a tone of humor.  Gimpel is a simple man who is mocked and made fun of by everyone.  They call him names, laugh at him, and treat him badly.  They look for him to do something so that they can pick on him.  Gimpel is aware that he is the victim of all this abuse and though it mat hurt him, he chooses to walk his own road.

He is actually smarter and kinder than everyone around him.  He picks a woman who no one would chose because of her past.  Loves and takes care of his children.  He manages make good choices when it comes to the devil and rejects him.   He also has the best heart towards others.  The fools are really the people who mock him.

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Gimpel the Fool

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