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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz: Novel Notes

Literary Luminary: Pages 1-109: 1. Ixnay. Hes not going to be a sawbones. Duddys a dope like me. Arent you, kid? (Richler 18). Duddys father says this to his friends when they mistake Duddy for Lenny, his older brother. All his life, Duddy has been living in his brothers shadow. No one expects Duddy to ever amount to anything, and that may have led him to believe that he had to make something of himself, through any means possible. Because he had no support from his family, perhaps he felt that he had to prove to them that he was worth something. Potentially, his drive to make money without regards to other peoples welfare may have stemmed from his familys lack of faith in him. 2. A man without land is nobody. Remember that, Duddy (Richler 44). Duddys grandfather says this to him. It later becomes Duddys mantra. It blossoms to Duddys lifelong ambition, as he repeats this phrase several times and strives to purchase land. Because Duddy wants to become somebody, Duddys only motivation is to earn money in order to buy land. 3. He liked to think, in fact, that point for point he was a lot like the Boy Wonder before he had made his name (Richler 58). Duddys father always talked about the Boy Wonder and his rags-to-riches story. Because Max, Duddys father, revered the Boy Wonder since he became somebody despite the fact that he

came from the same poor neighbourhood as Duddy and his father, perhaps Duddy felt that he needed to do the same; Duddy felt that emulating the Boy Wonder was how he was going to gain approval. 4. Theres nothing that little fiend wouldnt do for a dollar (Richler 75). Irwin says this about Duddy. It demonstrates Duddys drive to earn money. Later in the novel, we see that Duddy pretends his horrible bar-mitzvah movie is an avant-garde masterpiece and claims that he will enter it in the Cannes movie festival in order to sell the movie. He also forges a cheque from a friend, essentially stealing money from him, in order to buy land. Fundamentally, this statement sums up Duddys whole journey throughout the novel. 5. Cheaters never prosper, Duddy said. I hope thisll be a good lesson for you. I hope youll profit from it in the future (Richler 91). Duddy says this to Irwin, after Irwin cheats him out of his savings via a rigged roulette wheel. This quote demonstrates an aspect of foreshadowing as well as irony. Duddy consistently lies and swindles throughout the novel in order to earn money, and in the process, alienates many of his loved ones. At the end of the novel, he succeeds in buying land, but in turn, loses both Yvette and Virgil, who were extremely faithful to him previously. He does so by forging a cheque and stealing money from Virgil. It is ironic that Duddy would say that cheaters will never prosper, when he cheats himself. Arguably, Duddy did not prosper from his endeavours, since he had given up so much in order to receive the land, so he did not really profit from his own lesson.

Pages 110-229: 1. But Duddy had promised him a farm and he wasnt going to go crawling to Simcha for money to buy it with no matter what (Richler 120). This shows Duddys commitment of making a man out of himself. He is unwilling to accept help from his family, because he is determined to succeed on his own watch. The only people he is unwilling to ask help from is his own family. Perhaps this is because they are who he is trying to prove himself to. 2. Once more Duddy was tempted to ask if his father if Minnie had liked him, but he couldnt bring himself to risk it (Richler 127). Duddys mother died when he was a very young age. As a result, he grew up without a maternal figure and this might give some insight as to why he treats women so objectively. For instance, he treats Yvette with disrespect and poor attitude despite him being so reliant on her throughout the whole novel. He claims that she is his Girl Friday; he has a sexual relationship with her, and she admits that she loves him, but he does not want anything more. 3. At ten the next morning Duddy came charging out of a bottomless sleep, unsure of his surroundings but prepared for instant struggle, the alibi for a crime unremembered already halfborn, panting, scratching, and ready to bolt if necessary. He shook his head, recognized his own room and sighed gratefully (Richler 177). Perhaps Duddy is starting to experience guilt for his actions. The act of swindling people of their money, and lying and cheating may have gotten to him. The repercussions of acting solely for the purpose of earning money and not caring on the behalf of others may have gotten to him.

4. I dont get it, Duddy said. Imagine guys getting married and tying themselves down to one single broad for a whole lifetime when theres just so much stuff around (Richler 193). A further testament of Duddys views on relationships and women; he says this to Yvette after having sex with her. He cannot see marriage as a prospect; he is too focused on other things, namely acquiring land and making a name for himself. By now, he realizes that Yvette loves him, but he says this anyway, regardless of her feelings. 5. But first he took out a map and red crayon and coloured in the land that used to belong to Duquette. I won nearly half of it now. Well, more than a third anyway. Six months it took me. Thats all. Well, what do you say? Whats your opinion of Duddy Kravitz now? (Richler 224). Duddy believes that because he owns some land now, other people will start viewing him differently. This is another example of Duddy following his mantra that a man without land is nobody. However, he does not change personality-wise; his only motivation of acquiring money remains.

Pages 230-328 1. Ive got plenty of time to find myself a rich wife, he thought (Richler 231). This demonstrates how much Duddy would do in order to get money. He would marry a woman just for her money, without regards to who the person was and how he might feel about her. Duddy also has his casual relationship with Yvette, but would toss her aside in an instant at the chance for more money. 2. You lousy, intelligent people! You lying sons of bitches with your books and your socialism and your sneers. You give me one long pain in the ass. You think I never read books? Ive read books. Ive got friends now that read them by the ton. A big deal. Whats so special in them? They all make fun of guys like me (Richler 247). Duddy says this to his uncle; it shows the class division between Duddy and his uncle. Because Duddy feels that he has been shunned his whole life by the lousy, intelligent people, he felt that he needed to prove that he was better than them. This may have been another factor as to why Duddy goes through any means possible to earn money. 3. Blood, he heard, sold for twentyfive dollars a quart (Richler 308). This is part of what Duddy muses when he is attempting to figure out how to raise enough money to purchase the final piece of land. It demonstrates Duddys desperation at owning this land, since hed be willing to sell his own blood to raise a dollar here and there. It shows how much this land means to Duddy, and that his mantra has stayed true to him all this time. 4. All I needed was to be born rich. All I needed was money in the crib and I would have grown up such a fine, lovable guy (Richler 310).

It seems that Duddy is blaming the alienation of his allies on the fact that he was poor. Sadly, it seems that this statement could have potential to be true. If Duddy was born rich, then perhaps he may not have had such a drive to get money, and in turn would not have alienated his friends. Instead, he drives away any friends that he had for a piece of land. 5. Cant you ever smile? Max said, turning to the strangers with a chuckle. Would it cost you something to give us a little smile? (Richler 328). Max says this about Duddy, even after Duddy has bought all the land in Lac St Pierre. This seems to show the hollowness of Duddys success. Even after buying the land, Duddy seems unhappy. This may be due to how both Yvette and Virgil will no longer speak to him, and how he lost many of his friends in the process of getting that land. Arguably, Duddy has been led astray his whole life.

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