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The Lion Seeker
"Here is the South African novel I've been waiting for." - Lynn Freed
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How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

Created: 08/24/14

Replies: 4

Posted Aug. 24, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1303

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How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

Gitelle constantly reminds Isaac that life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid. How well does she follow her own advice? How well does Isaac learn? Is this advice just for Isaac? Does she give it to Rively, too? Or does it serve another purpose? Avrom later tells Isaac: "Be a lion or be a mareā€”it comes down to our decision." How is his advice similar? Different?


Posted Sep. 16, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

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RE: How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

Gitelle attempts to follow her own advice, but she fails to realize that fate plays a hand in life. Although she felt that she could control the fate of her relatives, she was wrong. Being "clever" does not always mean being successful and happy. One must have balance--decisions must be made with a balance of the head and the heart.


Posted Sep. 23, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christineb

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 46

RE: How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

Gitelle's demarcation between clever and stupid was too black and white. She didn't allow for any "grey" under any circumstances. Her path through life was narrow and did not not take into account extenuating and outside experiences.


Posted Sep. 25, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RebeccaF

Join Date: 08/24/14

Posts: 12

RE: How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

I quite agree with christineb; any oversimplified dichotomy is sure to mask a greater complexity. It's by no means as simple as Clever vs. Stupid, and success and failure do not follow from either distinction as straightforwardly as Gitelle would like to imagine.


Posted Sep. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
roberts

Join Date: 08/20/13

Posts: 31

RE: How well does Gitelle follow her own advice that "life is limitless for those who are Clever but miserable for those who are Stupid."

Gitelle was a static character. Her scars, both internal and external, paralyzed her. She did not evolve. Her sole focus was rescuing her family and moving Isaac to achievie financial success. Being a prisoner of her past Gitelle was not a free actor, and I am not able to classify her as either a Clever or a Stupid.

Isaac was greatly influenced by Gitelle's advice. He was constantly striving for success although his drive for perfection in the machine shop much more complimented Abel's view of life which defined success as a job well done in an enterprise that the actor enjoyed as opposed to Gitelle's view which measured success purely in terms of economic gain.

Gitelle reserved her advice for Isaac and did not share it with Rively. In the traditional Jewish home the role of the male was to financially provide for the family while the woman cared for and nurtured the children and kept the house. Gitelle's admonishing Rively to be a Clever would have been inconsistent with the culture of which the Helgers were a part.

Avrom's lion/mare distinction focuses on strength (which can be physical or mental) while Gitelle's clever/stupid distinction focuses on mental prowess. I believe that both characters were really saying the same thing--to reach a goal the actor much have intelligence, resolve, determination, strategy and cunning.


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