Relationships are an emotional connection between two people. In the novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler Duddy has many relationships, which change the way he acts, thinks and ultimately changes the plot dramatically. The life of Duddy changes throughout the novel from the relationships he has with his friends, family, and enemies. Duddys relationships with his friends show how he gains their trust and then once he has that trust, he uses them or steals from them to achieve his dream. Virgil, was a very good friend of Duddys that would do anything that Duddy asked.
But when Duddy forges Virgil’s signature to receive money, this changes how the reader looks at Duddy as a friend to Virgil. This is proved in the quote: “Duddys stealing from Virgil by forging his signature on a check is a reprehensible act, but allowance could be made for him. It is the vicious world before resorting to stealing from Virgil”(Woodcock 43). This shows how Duddy does not care very much about Virgil, that all he wants is the land. Duddy’s frequent mistreating of Yvette and the other people he loves leads to the destruction of his relationships. When Duddy forges the cheque in Virgil’s name, it upsets Yvette a lot.
Woodcock says: “This final ruthless act not only alienates Yvette from Duddy. It ironically destroys the relationship Duddy values most. ” (Woodcock43). Duddy stealing the money from Virgil is the worst thing he could possibly do. Yvette repeatedly tells him not too, but he does anyway. Duddy’s greed to own the entire lake is once again put in front of his relationships, and it proves costly. It leaves him alone and without relationships. Duddy’s relationship with Yvette was strong, but he lets his greed get the best of him, and it destroys one of his most important relationships. Mr. Cohen is one of Duddy’s friends that feeds his greed.
He does this by giving him business advice. An example of Mr. Cohen doing this is in the quote: “If your going to see Seigal now about his boys Bar-Mitzvah you have my permission to say you’re making one for me. Tell him I’m paying you two thousand. He can phone me if he wants. But listen Duddy, he’s not like me. Don’t trust him. Get five hundred down and the rest in writing”. Mr. Cohen is also the person who first buys a bar mitzvah film from Duddy. Throughout the novel Duddy gains strong friendships, but he loses them when he lets his greed get the best of him. Duddy’s relationships with his family change as the novel goes on.
Duddy’s grandfather Simcha is the only one that gives Duddy attention during his childhood. He tells Duddy, “A man without land is nobody” (Richler49). This quote helps Duddy understand what he must do to achieve personal success. In trying to do what his grandfather said, Duddy’s need to own all of the land becomes an obsession. By the end of the novel, Duddy does achieve his dream to make Simcha proud, but the way he does it upsets Simcha. Duddy took the words from him too far and ended up hurting Simcha. Throughout the novel, Duddy does not get along very well with his Uncle Benjy.
At first, Uncle Benjy disliked Duddy as well, but as the novel progresses, Benjy attempts to make things right with his nephew, who wants no part of it. Duddy lets his greed get in the way of his relationship with his uncle, who wants to get closer with Duddy. When Duddy is younger, Uncle Benjy does not like him at all. This is shown in the quote: “He did not like Duddy on sight, it’s true. The thin crafty face, the quick black eyes and the restlessness, the blackheads and the oily skin, the perpetual fidgeting, the grin shrewd and knowing, all made a bad impression on Uncle Benjy.
He was prepared to give Duddy a chance, however, but Duddy went and loused it up. ” (Richler63) Uncle Benjy dislikes everything about Duddy when he is younger. Benjy would always give Duddy’s brother Lennie whatever he needed whenever he needed it, but things were different with Duddy. Duddy always had to prove himself to Benjy, which caused Duddy to dislike him. Uncle Benjy’s initial dislike for Duddy causes Duddy to despise him. Duddy is always very loyal to his brother Lennie. He always puts his family first. We learn this from Woodcocks quote “The theme of the small, loyal family runs through the novel.
We’re a small family, Lennie said. But we stick together, Max said. We’re loyal”(43). When Lennie ran away from home, it was Duddy that went out to find him, tell him that he needs to go finish school and become a doctor because he wants the best for his brother. Lennie and Duddy have a good relationship but on the other hand Max and Duddy are different. Max shows little affection for his son by telling his friends he’s a dope, wonders what Simcha sees in him, and saying whatever he wants to him not caring what Duddys feelings are. Max does not believe that he can accomplish his dream of buying all of the land on Lac St. Pierre, but Duddy sticks with it and still shows respect for his family members.
Duddy’s enemies pose a great struggle for him to secure his land, job and other relationships in the novel but he overcomes his enemies and finds his level of success. Jerry Dingleman is an enemy of Duddys because he gets the idea to buy the last portion of property on Lac St. Pierre. This changes how Duddy thinks of him and causes Duddy to despise Dingleman. This is shown in the quote: “Listen Dingleman, he shouted”, get off my land. Beat it. ”(Richler 371).
When Jerry Dingleman, also called the Boy Wonder by Max, invites Duddy to New York with him, Duddy believes he will get assistance from Dingleman, but it fails to happen as he is used to smuggle drugs over the border. When Duddy finds out that Dingleman tried to buy his land, Duddy freaks out and starts to despise Dingleman even more. When Duddy worked at Rubin’s Resort, he met Irwin Shubert. Irwin immediately disliked Duddy and he tried to steal all of Duddy’s money by setting up a fixed roulette game. Duddy ended up losing all of his money which is shown in the quote: “How much did you lose? “Everything. Three hundred dollars. ”
Duddy began to scream. “You said I couldn’t lose. You told me it was impossible for me to lose. ”(Richler97) Irwin is a untrustworthy person who criticizes Duddy’s speaking and poor wardrobe, tells him he’s poor and uneducated, persuades Linda to trick Duddy into thinking she’s interested in him, and worst of all cheats Duddy out his money at roulette. Duddys teacher Mr. McPherson does not like Duddy because he is always misbehaving at school. Mr. McPherson tells Duddy that his dad is unfit to raise him, which makes Duddy mad.
Duddy gets back at Mr. McPherson by prank calling him but ends up accidentally killing his wife. Mr. McPherson snaps because of this and says ““It was you who phoned, wasn’t it? ” “I don’t know what you’re talking about”(38). Mr. McPherson never liked Duddy, but refused to hit him. Never letting out his anger led him to snap, and his words about Duddy killing his wife stuck in Duddy’s head. The course of the novel changes because of the relationships he has which changes the way he acts and thinks about certain things. Duddys relationships with his family friends and enemies result in him losing many other relationships.
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