In society, most people have an obsession to some extent, these may include such things as a hobby – collecting antiques; or even as simple as having to have things a certain way. For others though, obsession has a different meaning, they might become obsessed with one special object, or possibly attaining a certain goal. They might go about achieving this goal no matter what the consequences to others might be. Mordecai Richler’s book the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, illustrates one such case of obsession, the title character, Duddy Kravitz becomes obsessed with his grandfather’s saying, ” A man without land, is nothing. , thus starting Duddy on his quest to attain a piece of land.
Throughout his quest, Duddy has no regard for the feelings or the relationships he destroys in the process, weather it in his family relations, business relations, or even his personal relations to those that are closest to him. Duddy was not born into money, his father, Max, was a taxi driver, and pulled in a low income. Max’s brother, Benjy had money and always played favourites with Duddy’s brother, Lennie by giving him money and opportunities.
Duddy always had to struggle for his money, and in one his many struggles he borrows his father’s taxi cab, which is his only source of income, but does not return it for three days. He was delivering pin ball machines that he had sold. When he returns he finds his father is furious at him just taking off with the cab without permission. “They found Max at Eddy’s, and he was furious, who do you think you are? ,’ he said that you can run off with my car for three days? Just like that. ‘” (Richler, 213).
Duddy has a way of burning bridges with the people that he most needs, he only thinks of himself, and has no consideration for the feelings of others, even those who does not want to hurt the most. Duddy’s grandfather, also known as the Zeyda, is Duddy’s mentor and the only person Duddy really looks up to, and the one he does not want to hurt, but ends up hurting him the worst. “Yvette came to see me. ‘. ‘she told me what you did,’ Simcha said, And I don’t want a farm here. ‘ . I can see what you have planned for me, Duddel. You’ll be good to me. You’d give me everything I wanted.
And that would settle your conscience when you went out to swindle others. ‘” (Richler, 315). Duddy did not count on hurting the Zeyda, and was hurt himself, and was put back by this. Duddy was a strict businessman, and did a brisk business at times, but he also hurts his associates in business affairs. He haggled a lot of people, and usually got what he was after. Some of his clients however did not much appreciate this, but Duddy was not concerned with their thoughts. During one dealing session with Mr. Cohen, Duddy drives a hard bargain, and finally it is accepted.
Some kid. Some operator'” (Richler, 202). Duddy has many business clients but none were as important as Jerry Dingleman, the boy wonder, he was the working class hero of St. Urbain Street. As a child Duddy looked up to Jerry, as a role model. Jerry and Duddy became friends, and Jerry even took Duddy to New York for three days. In the end though, it was Jerry who Duddy was fighting with to get the last piece of land. Jerry purposes that they become partners but Duddy flat out refuses his offer. “I’m interested in this land. I’m interested in you too.
I can raise the money for development. You can’t’. We could be partners. ‘ . Alone you’ll never raise the money you need. With my help we can turn this into a model resort town. ‘” (Richler, 313). At times Duddy does not think of the consequences of his actions, and he lets his pride stand in the way a lot of the time. In his personal relationships, Duddy was not much successful either. He had an off-again; on-again relationship with a girl, Yvette, Duddy was not good with girls. He was very rude to Yvette at times, and ignored a lot of the time too.
When he was not interested in her he would pick fights with her so she would leave and go back to her home town. Duddy finally set her off one last time, when he stole money from Virgil to buy the land. Yvette tells Duddy that she wants nothing more to do with him, but he just mocks her. “‘You can have all the time in the world, Duddy. But I don’t ever want to see you again. ‘ I don’t ever want to see you again. ‘ [Duddy] said, mimicking her voice. ” (Richler, 317). One of the few friends that Duddy maintains the longest is Virgil.
Virgil became friends with Duddy, and he offered him a job as a driver for his business. Duddy let Virgil drive the truck even though he knew that he was an epileptic, this was against Yvette’s discretion. One day while Virgil was driving the truck he had a fit and crashed the truck into a tree. He was paralyzed. Yvette blamed this on Duddy for letting him drive, even though Virgil said that it was not Duddy’s fault. Virgil was okay with the accident but when Duddy forged one of his cheques, Virgil was outraged, and had another fit. He could not forgive Duddy for this and never wanted to see him again. aid to Duddy] “‘We don’t want your money. If we wanted it we could sue you.
All we want from you is to left alone. Can you understand that? ‘” (Richler, 317). Duddy said he was going to pay them back but that did not make up for it still. Duddy’s obsession with obtaining land consumed him and he did not realize that he hurt a lot of people in the process. Like others in society, Duddy has a drive to reach his goal, but he betrays, and crushes people on the way up to the top. Richler’s tale of struggle and triumph, illustrates what some people will do to achieve their hearts desire.