In The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, we see Duddy set himself up for a great downfall. We all know that every one must pursue their dreams, because without dreams there would be no reason to live. Duddy understands this perfectly, that is why he is very ambitious. From the moment he hears his grandfather say, A man without land is nobody. Remember that, Duddel. (Richler 49) Ever since those words were said Duddy prepared himself to seek the land of his dreams, no matter what the cost would be. Duddy is a relentless pursuer; a fierce competitor and also a good manipulator.
At the nd of the novel he does end up getting his land, but he is only successful because of his immoral and despicable means. Therefore Duddy has failed his apprenticeship and has become the scheming little bastard(280) that Uncle Benjy has warned him about. There is no doubt that Duddy is a very sharp and intelligent, but it is his lack of moral principles that attributes to his final failure. His immorality can be traced back to his early childhood. While he was in parochial school, he earns money through his scheming ways. He liked to take advantage of the fact that minors cannot be sued in Canada.
Duddy defrauds stamp companies and sells stolen hockey sticks from the Montreal Canadians N. H. L. hockey team. But after these acts he emerges himself into a deeper sea of corruption when he opens up Dudley Kane Enterprises. With his limited knowledge of movie making and his trust in John Friar, his firm produces bar-mitzvah films of extremely poor quality. The bar-mitzvah for Mr. Cohen, for example, is obviously a failing product. Duddy didnt say a word all through the screening but afterwards he was sick to his stomach. (148)
After the (C. Sampaio 2) screening, Duddy says to Mr. Friar, I could sell Mr. Cohen a dead horse easier than this pile of –. (148) However, realizing the obvious bad job, Duddy does not tell his clients the truth. Instead he tells his clients that the film is a phenomenal piece of art and he is entering it into the Cannes Film Festival. Its great. (the film) Were going to enter it in the Cannes Festival. (149) By doing so he deceives the Cohen family into buying the defective bar-mitzvah film of their son Bernie. As a matter of fact, Duddy is not only very skillful in handling situations, but he also finds it very easy to manipulate people.
This can be clearly seen in his relationships with Virgil and Yvette. Duddy was never loved in his family, so he is very happy to know that there is someone (Yvette) that cares about him. He finds a great friend in her and they engage in intimacy. But as time passes by, Yvette becomes only a tool for him. He uses her so that he can by the land that he lusts for. He uses her because he is a minor and cannot legally own land. The farmers would be wary of a young Jew, they might jack up the prices or even refuse to sell, but another French-Canadian would not be suspect. (100)
He also uses Yvette as a sexual toy and makes love to her whenever he wants it, but does not take her feelings into consideration. Yvette wanted to wait, but Duddy insisted, and they made love on the carpet. (191) Yvette love Duddy and wants to marry him, on the other hand Duddy thinks that marriage is revolting. Imagine guys getting married and tying themselves down to one single broad for a whole lifetime when theres so much stuff around. (191) Duddy really does not know how to treat a woman. With Virgil on the other hand, Duddy takes advantage of his physical disabilities.
After selling a pinball machine that Virgil bought him to ease financial troubles, Duddy does not want to repay him. So Duddy uses the fact that Virgil is an epileptic and it is very difficult for him to be hired, Duddy employs him as a driver. But there is a catch, Duddy tells him that a truck would be necessary for the task. Duddy tells Virgil that he has the perfect vehicle for one thousand dollars. Coincidentally the exact amount that he (C. Sampaio 3) owes Virgil. But one thing is that Virgil is innocent enough not to know what is going on and trusts Duddy.
This is just another one of Duddys schemes so that he does not need to eimburse Virgil. After Duddy has engaged himself into many types of deceitful activities, he goes bankrupt and is on the verge of a mental breakdown. At that point, Uncle Benjys letter reveals to Duddy that he must make a very important decision: Theres more to you than mere money-lust, Duddy, but Im afraid for you. Youre two people, thats why. The scheming little bastard I saw so easily and the fine, intelligent boy underneath that your grandfather, bless him, saw. But youre coming of age soon and youll have to choose.
A boy can be two, three, four potential people, but a man is only one. He urders the others. (280) Duddy must know choose the way that he will live for the rest of his life. He can become an immoral criminal or abandon his money-lusting ways and become a gentleman. But at this point Duddy performs the most outrageous act. He forges Virgils cheque in order to but the last piece of land. This is a clear indication that Duddy has chosen to become an inconsiderate scheming little bastard. He has murdered all the other good possibilities for himself. In conclusion Duddy has obviously chosen to be the wrong kind of man.
He has chosen to be a crooked person, with no morals. Although Duddy is a very sharp and perceptive man. He can calmly and gracefully settle Lennies problems with Mr. Calder. He can also intelligently get his Aunt Ida back to Montreal to see his dying Uncle Benjy. Duddy has all the qualities that is needed for him to succeed in society. Unfortunately Duddy chooses the wrong path early in his childhood and continues it throughout his adulthood. He ends up to be a terrible failure. Perhaps his lack of discipline from his early years is one of the most important characteristics to his tragic fall in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.