The Psychological and Sociological Approach to Writing in Gimpel the Fool

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Throughout, both, Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Albert Camus’s The Stranger, they both have a psychological and sociological approach to both writings. Albert Camus and Isaac Bashevis Singer both associate philosophical imagery, the contradicting impression of God and the social construct in both writings. In the following, is an analysis of both these authors’ methods and their means of containing the social behavior and religious aspect within their writing. Albert Camus’s intention in The Stranger is to explore his approach in his writing. He raises the issue of society and how living in a world without clarity and judgement can be cruel and punishing. His work suggests that living in this world trying to find happiness is a waste of effort and he indirectly attempts to illustrate the idea that it is not ethical to worry about the emotional appeal of everything in life. Albert Camus expresses the ideas of absurdism, existentialism, the absence of God, psychology, nothingness and sociology. Camus focuses on the idea of existentialism through psychology and sociology.

Meursault’s behavior and decision-making process is not based on deep analysis of situations or with specific objectives; they are just based as a response to his physical discomfort. He consciously and intentionally murders a person to satisfy his physical needs of satisfaction and avoidance of discomfort. His decision making process is so simple, even when asked if he needs an attorney, he could not understand why someone who killed a person would need that. In his simplistic view, if one kills a person, that person faces the societal agreed upon penalties. Meursault’s character is one that does not show any emotion, life, or love. He never shows his emotions past a physical level which is evident with his relationship with Marie as well. Marie tries to evoke emotions of love from Meursault but is constantly argued with his interpretation of what love is and its meaning to him. He specifically tells Marie that “devotion is nothing more than self-delusion”. Isaac Bashevis Singer’s writes about a man who believes everything he is told because of his faith in God. Judaism’s stories philosophically brings the story together as Gimpel’s thoughts and action are justified through the religion.

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The religious imagery he brings to the writing gives the reader clues in understanding Gimpel as a character. Singer chooses to focus on the nature of reality because he cannot understand why he is treated like a fool. Throughout this all, Gimpel- just like Mersault—is aware of how everybody is treating him, but in this case Gimpel keeps on falling for tricks so he is considered to be foolish by society. Not only is he gullible, but his faith in God makes him believe the impossible, which makes him look even more ridiculous. In this case, he seems to be happy with being tricked. The main difference between the two writings would have to be the mood of the writing. The Stranger seems to be negative and Gimpel and the Fool is positive. The Stranger ends in death as he accuses a priest of “living like a dead man”. He challenges the social construct before his own death– he refuses to “waste any last minute on God”. Notice the difference between Mersault and Gimpel and their idea of God. Mersault and Gimpel are both deceived within their home and although Mersault is aware, Gimpel is not aware that the whole town is against him—even his wife, who cheats on him. When Gimpel realizes, his life takes a turn as he starts to dream of the devil and becomes introverted.

Gimpel’s belief in God gave him a positive aspect in life. Although the world was against him because of his innocence, he was very intelligent and he never suffered through his purity. Gimpel showed everybody that God is on his side even when the rest of the world is not. However, Mersault’s position was different; society was against him because he was a “Stranger” to them. Mersault was emotionless, unfaithful, and introverted causing the world to see him differently. When death approaches Mersault, he attempts to be faithful in order to somehow avoid death, but instead a false illusion of hope prior to death tortures him even more. After speaking with the Chaplain, he then peacefully accepts death when he understands that he is The Stranger. Gimpel the Fool, being an outcast causes him to be successfully awarded in his life, but Mersault as an outsider causes him to be beheaded.

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