Duddy Kravitz - Following A Dream

Duddy Kravitz - Following A Dream

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Duddy Kravitz - Following A Dream

Reach for the stars, is a common phrase many children hear in their
life, whether by parents or role models in their lives. If a person
puts their mind to a task at hand they can accomplish it most of the
time, but when the goal is achieved and the path is taken to achieve
the goal is crowded with hate and lies, the question arises; was it all
worth it? In Mordecai Richler^s novel, The Apprenticeship of Duddy
Kravitz, Duddy Kravitz, his uncle Benjy and Jerry Dingleman (The Boy
Wonder), are all able to achieve their life long dreams, but we must
examine if their sacrifices were worthy of the prize. Benjy strived
his entire life to create a profitable business, raise a family, and
make his father, Simcha, proud to be his father. Now, Benjy was able to
make his business grow and become beneficial to all that were close to
him. He was able to provide his nephew, Lennie, with a University
education to help him on his way to becoming a doctor, and also gave
Duddy a job working at his factory. These sound like descent things to
do for your own family, however when Duddy worked for Benjy he never
treated him with respect. This treatment towards Duddy did not help
Benjy^s reputation with Duddy, who already thought Benjy favoured
Lennie. As well, sending Lennie to University was a very thoughtful and
expensive thing to do for him, but according to Duddy, ^Lennie never
wanted to be a doctor^ You forced him!^(241).

This idea of Lennie never wanting to be a doctor was evident when he
ran away from school. Lennie could not take the pressure put on him by
Benjy, but he wanted to make Benjy proud and by doing so almost got
kicked out of school and ruined his life. The reason that Benjy was
doing all this for his nephews was because he could not have any
children, with his wife due to complications. Benjy started out doing
something nice but ended up trying to live his life through his
brothers. In the end Benjy attains cancer and is sinking towards death
with no one to inherit his life long achievement, his factory. No one
will take over his business in the family because Lennie is too busy,
Max-his brother- is too uninformed about it and Duddy has a certain
disliking for him. Duddy had lost his respect for Benjy due to the fact
that Benjy always ridiculed him. Benjy made his father Simcha believe

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he had failed as a father because Benjy is nothing with all his money.

After all of Benjys hard work and determination he cannot even pass the
business on in the family because of his treatment of others on the way
to and at the top. Duddy wanted to own land after hearing his grandpa
say, ^A man without land is nobody^(48). To achieve this goal he led a
crooked life; even as a child he conned companies. By doing odd jobs
like this he does gain experience for life but he has no where to go
with this kind of experience except down. Then when he was able to find
the land he desired he did everything possible to retrieve the land. He
tried to be like Jerry Dinglemen at first, but he himself led a crime
filled life; taking advantage of innocent people, and dealing drugs.

His life was never very legal and he was always looking behind his
back, and this was Duddy^s role mode.

Also, Duddy had lost the respect and trust of his close friends and
family in his journey to achieve his land. He lost the approval of his
friends when he became too self-indulged and forgot all about Yvette
and Virgil. He then lost all trust in everyone when he purchased the
last bit of land, by stealing the money from Virgil, and then refusing
the help of anyone else. The worst part about his losses was that he
was warned on many different occasions, for example, ^You^re too sure
of yourself^(120) and ^I knew you^d get your fingers burnt one
day^(251). Even Benjy realized that he, himself, had gone wrong but
Duddy did not heed his warnings, ^I was wrong because there was more,
much more^(228). He was warned on countless occasions to take it slow
but it did not work. All the effort Duddy put towards his life was to
make his grandfather proud, but he ended up hurting him and losing his
respect. These dreams of the characters were completed but were the
consequences worth the struggle? There is no suggestion that one should
not follow their dreams and pursue goals of life, but it makes the
reader think. Benjy realized his struggle was not worth the end result
but it was too late. Jerry Dinglemen, unfortunately may never learn
that his life of felony is not worth the hassles. The life of a
criminal can end in an instant and you could be left with nothing, left
to die a lonely man. Duddy still may have the chance to reconcile with
his family if he tries really hard because he still has much time left
in his life. He has to realize that material things are not everything
and family and friends are much more important.
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