In: English and Literature

Submitted By escloido
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David D'Alleva
September 24, 2013

“Free Fruit For Young Widows” By Nathan Englander (Question 1)

This short story is about Shimmy Gezer and his son Etgar. Shimmy Gezer had a fruit stand in Jerusalem and his son worked with him when he wasn't in school. Shimmy had once been a soldier for the Israeli Army with his friend Tendler who now became Professor Tendler. During the story, Etgar tries to understand why his father never allows Professor Tendler to pay for his groceries each time he comes to the fruit stand. “After Etgar weighed the tomatoes and the cucumbers, his father would take up the bag, stick in a nice fat eggplant, unasked, and pass it over to Professor Tendler” (Englander 32). Shimmy would also give free products to the widows of Israeli soldiers who had died during battle.

As the story progresses, Etgar's character changes, and he understands the true motivations behind his father's relationship with Professor Tendler. “Etgar wasn't one of the gray. He was a tiny, thoughtful, bucktoothed boy of certainties” (Englander 33). We have this image of Etgar as being a good innocent boy trying to understand why his father treated Tendler so good, considering Tendler's actions during the war. Tendler had murdered innocent people and had gave Shimmy such a beating while they were at war, that Shimmy still could feel the flattened bones on his face. “It was not his father's act of forgiveness but his kindness that baffled Etgar” (Englander 33). Etgar also tries to remind his father that “[He] was there too. [He had the same life as Tendler. And [he] never shot four men, even the enemy” (Englander 34).

Etgar is like his father. He seems to disagree with Tendler's murders just as his father was against them when Tendler shot the four commandos. By the end of the story, Etgar is also treating Tendler with kindness at his fruit stand. He comes to…...

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