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CHARACTER STUDY: DUDDY KRAVITZ

Duddy kravitz a “small, narrow-chested boy of fifteen with a thin face. His black eyes were ringed with dark circles”. This is how he is described in the novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz physically. Duddy kravitz a schoolboy, class president of room fourty one, leader of a group of boys, and comes from a Jewish background. As normal as this all may sound deep within he is a boy built from many different characteristics to make him who he is in the novel. Not just a normal average Jewish kid, but also someone much more complex. He denies his insecurities, enjoys status, likes being the centre of attention, and a boy who lacks moral in himself.

From the novel so far (chapters 1-10) we can see that a boy like Duddy springs from humble beginnings, but clearly, he is very eager to become a successful and powerful man. “…His bony cheeks were criss-crossed with scratches as he shaved twice daily in his attempt to encourage a beard.” This clearly indicates to the readers that Duddy wants and tries to be someone that he is not. He wants himself and others to think that he is of great significance. The fact that his friends, family and others reject him makes his self-projected image even more preponderant. He must convince himself and others that he is a very important figure and he does this by denying his insecurities.

Another obvious characteristic he shows throughout the novel is that he enjoys having status among the group of friends. He wants to be the one who is threatening, and above all the other boys. He doesn’t like it when people insult him or get in his way, as in doing something, which he dislikes, or someone saying something, which disagrees with him. We can see this when he says ‘We know how to deal with tuchusleckers here’ he says this to Hersh when Duddy was giving MacPherson a hard time and Hersh told Duddy to ‘Leave him alone’. This made Duddy angry as he doesn’t like people disagreeing with his doings, and so he wave his fist at Hersh and says that.

Throughout the novel you are able to see that Duddy is a boy, which needs ‘face’ all the time. He likes to impress the boys, so that they look up to him. He’ll do anything for attention and enjoys very much being the centre of attention all the time. We can tell through the lies he makes up about his brother Bradley. He tells the boys that ‘I got a letter from hi only yesterday aft, he said as soon as I’m finished up at Fletcher’s field he wants me to come down to Arizona to help out at the ranch like’. As well as telling them incredible storied of his brother and how he joined the air force, sunk battleships, married a rich man’s daughter and opened a ranch in Arizona, and so on. All of these being lies but with one purpose, because he wanted to have something to impress the boys with. He wanted them to look up to him and he enjoyed having centre of attention when he was telling them these stories.

After knowing that MacPherson’s wife is dead, we learn that it was because Duddy prank called her and so she ended up dead for some apparent reason. Even though MacPherson tells Duddy that he is a murderer, and that it was him who had murdered his wife when he had prank called her, Duddy’s response was somewhat cold. He acted like it was a big deal and that he didn’t even think it was his fault at all. ‘What does he mean I killed his god dam wife? I didn’t mean nothing all the time. Nothing. We’re all in this together understand?’ It shows that not only does he not remorse for what he has done but he in fact tries to bring the whole group of boys in this mess even though it was him who created it. This shows that he is a boy with very little sympathy for anyone. He lacks morals in himself and is not able to find place in his heart for sympathy in what he has done to MacPherson.

Alison Chu


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