The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz--The Tragic Fall of Duddy

A man must pursue his dreams. This is certainly true for everyone of
the humankind, for if there were no dreams, there would be no reason to
live. Duddy Kravitz understands this perfectly, that is why he is one
of the most ambitious young men of his time. From the moment he hears
his grandfather says, "A man without land is nobody," he is prepared to
seek the land of his dream -- no matter what the cost would be. This
ambition of his is very respectable, but unfortunately his methods are
damnable. Duddy is a relentless pursuer; a formidable competitor and
also a ruthless manipulator. It is true that he has obtained all the
land that he desires at the end, but he succeeds through immoral,
despicable and contemptible means. It is clear then, that Duddy has
failed in his apprenticeship and has become the "scheming little
bastard" that Uncle Benjy has warned him against.

There is no doubt that Duddy is very shrewd and clever, but his lack of
moral principles attributes to his final failure. In fact, his
immorality can be traced back to a very young age. During his study in
the parochial school, he already earns money through methods that hardly
comply to virtues of any kind. Taking advantage of the fact that minors
cannot be sued in Canada, Duddy defrauds stamp companies and sells
stolen hockey sticks. Perhaps he cannot distinguish right from wrong;
perhaps he does not care, but nonetheless it is not proper for him to
engage himself into these kinds of activities.

Duddy emerges himself deeper into the sea of corruption when he
establishes Dudley Kane Enterprises. With his limited knowledge of
movie making and his mistaken trust in John Friar, his firm produces
bar-mitzvah films of extremely poor quality. The bar-mitzvah film for
Mr. Cohen, for example, is obviously a failing product. "Duddy didn’t
say a word all through the screening but afterwards he was sick to his
stomach." After the screening, Duddy says to Mr. Friar, "I could sell
Mr. Cohen a dead horse easier than this pile of --." However,
realizing the obvious faultiness of the film, Duddy does not talk
candidly to his client. Instead, he untruthfully says that the film is
a phenomenal piece of art and that he is entering it into the Cannes
Festival. By doing so, he deceives the Cohen family into buying the
defective bar-mitzvah film of Bernie.

As a matter of fact, Kravitz is not only skillful in handling
situations, but he is also very apt in manipulating people. This can be
clearly seen in his relationships with Virgil and Yvette.

Duddy is never loved in his family, so originally Duddy is quite
content to know that there is someone who cares about him -- Yvette. He
finds great comradeship in her and has also enjoyed great sex with her.
But as time passes by, Yvette becomes only a tool to him. He uses her
as a medium through which he can buy the land that he lusts for; because
he is a minor and he cannot legally own land. "The farmers would be
wary of a young Jew, they might jack up prices or even refuse to sell,
but another French-Canadian would not be suspect." Duddy also treats
her as a sexual toy. He makes love with Yvette whenever he wants it,
but he does not take Yvette’s feelings into consideration: "Yvette
wanted to wait, but Duddy insisted, and they made love on the carpet."
He never pays any respect to Yvette and he does "...not know how to
treat a woman."

With Virgil, Duddy takes advantage of his physical disabilities. After
selling the pinball machines that Virgil brought him to ease his
financial troubles, Duddy does not want to repay Virgil. Using the fact
that Virgil is an epileptic and that it is very difficult for him to be
hired, Duddy employs him as a driver. But Duddy tells him that a truck
would be necessary for the task, and that he can provide Virgil with the
perfect vehicle for one thousand dollars -- the exact amount that he
owes Virgil. Virgil is innocent enough not to know what is happening.
He is also very grateful and flattered to know that Mr. Kravitz is
willing to hire him. He accepts the job immediately, and thus, Duddy
does not need to reimburse Virgil. It is quite ironic that Duddy, being
such a good manipulator of people, is later being used by his Bohemian
friends when