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Nathan Englander’s “Free Fruit for Young Widows” is strong story full of morality. In the center of the story is Professor Tendler, who escaped from the concentration camp during the Holocaust to get back to his family home. He finds his babysitter with her family there in his house who were a part of their family during the war. They welcomed him very warm and seemed happy to see him. However, Tendler found out that they wanted to kill him, he decided to kill them himself. Later in another war Shimmy Gezer watches Tendler killing Egyptian soldiers. Shimmy gets mad on him. Tendler beats Shimmy very hard. Gezer tells both stories to his son Etgar. When Etgar was little boy, the story was generalized for him. As Etgar was growing up his father was eddying a little more details to the story. When he became thirteen years old he finally heard the whole story and got a chance to analyze it.
I think one of the major themes of the story is the theme of growing up. We can observe the passage of wisdom from generation to generation. For Etgar as for child the whole story would be emotionally intense and he wouldn’t be able to learn anything from it. Etgar didn’t understand why his father keeps giving free fruits and vegetable to a man who once beat him. “At thirteen he was told a different story. Because at thirteen Etgar was a man.” (Englander). Shimmy decided that it was time to his son to know “gray space that was called real life” (Englander) and see how life can be unfair. Shimmy tries to teach his son not to judge people without knowing the background. “And you, spoiled child, apply the rules of civilization to a boy who had seen only its opposite”. (Englander). The author begins the story with the episode of shooting. Even though the author doesn’t judge Tendler for us, he makes us as well as Etgar to make judgements about Professor Tendler ourselves. As the story continues, we learn, along with Etgar, more about Professors background and his tragic experiences. At the end of the story, we can conclude that the wisdom was successfully passed to the next generation.
This is a grate and powerful story that brings up many philosophical ideas. There are many themes presented in this story. We can observe how wisdom is passed to future generations and how small detail added to the story can change its context.
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