2 June, 2011. Mr. MacPherson a failure? Mr. MacPherson is the character of a mentor in the novel The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, that is talked about only in the first eight chapters of the first of the four parts of the book…
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MacPherson could not remained composed after the unfortunate event of his wife’s death, and thus failed. Mr. MacPherson was one of the mentors who taught in the Fletcher Fields High School. This was the school that Duddy used to go to. In the start, Mr. MacPherson was much more kind towards the students as compared to other mentors. Other mentors frequently made use of corporal punishments to teach the students lessons, whereas Mr. MacPherson would always abstain from doing so. The difference of Mr. MacPherson’s behavior from the other mentors essentially spoke of his increasingly positive approach towards the students. He did not believe in getting violent to get the point conveyed to the students. He saw corporal punishments as destructive, and hence, would not resort to them to have his point made. This, was, undoubtedly, a positive sign about the mentality of Mr. MacPherson. Never did Mr. MacPherson give any student a corporal punishment until one extremely unfortunate incident happened. Mr. MacPherson had a wife who was not well. She was pale and had confined herself to bed in order to take complete rest. One night, it so happened that Mr. MacPherson was not at home with his wife. He had gone out for some work. Meanwhile, Duddy made a prank phone call to his mentor, Mr. MacPherson. In order to attend the call, Mr. MacPherson’s wife madder an attempt to pull herself out of the bed. Unfortunately, she could not manage to do that successfully and the attempt resulted in her death. This was a life turning event for Mr. MacPherson who became an altogether different person after the death of his wife. After his wife died, Mr. MacPherson’s attitude with the students in the school totally changed for the worse. He began to rant at the students more frequently and began to make use of corporal punishments over the boys like their other mentors. In addition to that, Mr. MacPherson began to consume a lot of alcohol whenever he would find some spare time. He was ruining his health as well as impression because he was overwhelmed by the death of his life partner. The grief had turned him almost mad, and he had become a failure. …most Jewish boys in Montreal who had been to high school had gone to F.F.H.S. and, consequently, had studied history out of The World’s Progress (Revised)with John Alexander MacPherson; and every old graduate had an anecdote to tell about him. (Richler). Mr. Macpherson is a failure because he is portrayed as a victim in the play. A potential evidence for this is the fact that Mr. Macpherson was hit over the back side of the neck with a snowball as he was getting into the school. It so happened when Mr. Macpherson said that Duddy’s dad was “unfit to raise him” (Richler 12). When Mr. Macpherson’s students subdued him, he, …began to sit around the house alone. He seldom went out any more. And then one night, a couple of weeks after he had returned to school, Mr MacPherson sat down before his dead fireplace and broke open his new bottle of whiskey. He sat there for hours, cherishing old and unlikely memories and trying to feel something more than a sense of liberation because Jenny, whom he had once loved truly, was dead. (Richler). Throughout the novel after the incident of the death of his wife, Mr Macpherson is shown in a rude attire, “Mr MacPherson slammed the receiver back on the hook and stumbled into the living-room, knocking over a lamp on his way”
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