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Unit 2 Fool’s Paradise. By Isaac Bashevis Singer. Unit Overview. In this unit you will : Read a tale told by Singer Learn more about how to preview a reading material Take a test in fast reading Read a tale Sleeping Ugly Read a section from Alice in Wonderland. About the author:.

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unit 2 fool s paradise

Unit 2 Fool’s Paradise

By Isaac Bashevis Singer

unit overview
Unit Overview

In this unit you will :

  • Read a tale told by Singer
  • Learn more about how to preview a reading material
  • Take a test in fast reading
  • Read a tale Sleeping Ugly
  • Read a section from Alice in Wonderland
about the author
About the author:

Singer, Isaac Bashevis , 1904-91, American novelist and short-story writer in the Yiddish language, younger brother of I. J. Singer, b. Poland. He emigrated to the United States in 1935 and worked in New York City as a journalist on the Jewish Daily Forward. In 1943 he became an American citizen. Singer's work, often frankly sexual, draws heavily on Jewish folklore, religion, and mysticism. Though he wrote in Yiddish, he was fluent in English and closely supervised the English translations of his works. In 1978 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first Yiddish-language author to be so honored. Many of his later works treat the loneliness of old age and the sense of alienation produced in Jews by the dissolution of values through assimilation with the Gentile world. His novels include The Family Moskat (tr. 1950), Satan in Goray (tr. 1955), The Manor (tr. 1967), Enemies (tr. 1972), Shasha (tr. 1978), The Penitent (tr. 1983), Scum (tr. 1991), and the posthumously published Shadows on the Hudson (tr. 1997). Singer is also highly regarded for his imaginative, perceptive, and witty short stories. Collections include Gimpel the Fool (tr. 1961), The Spinoza of Market Street (tr. 1961), Old Love (tr. 1979), and The Death of Methuselah (tr. 1985). He also wrote books for children and several plays, notably The Mirror (tr. 1973).


The Nobel Prize in Literature 1978"for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life"

more about the story
More about the story

The story has been very popular and has been adapted to the stage. The following is a comment on a version of chamber opera. It can help you understand the story.

  • The chamber opera "Fool's Paradise" is inspired by distinguished Yiddish writer and Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer's story of the same name. How is it that such a short children's story should be worthy of an entire opera? While it is a simple tale, it encompasses the full scope of life's experiences. Childhood, adolescence, love, death, burial, resurrection and wedding all serve to make this a dramatic story which is bigger than life. 
  • The opera is intended for children. In approaching such a project one must question whether composing especially for children is any different from composing for adults. Children do not ask for much; they have a great deal of intuition and a wealth of imagination. In fact, in many ways all they ask of the adult author or composer is to speak to them in clear simple language and allow for some mystery and magic. Ignite their imaginations and they can do the rest on their own!
  • There are seven characters in the opera. Each one of them is attached to an instrument or a specific group of instruments. The diversity of instrumentation and unique orchestration made the use of symphonic orchestra unnecessary. There is, in fact, no doubling of instruments except for the clarinets. The importance of each part is dramatically increased as the soloists display the full palette of their instruments' abilities. This use of only one instrument of a kind results in a large chamber ensemble with a new quality of sound and acoustic balance. Finally, there is the beautiful message of "Fool's Paradise". In its absurd way, a simple but important moral lesson is conveyed: life is better than death and wonderful Paradise is nowhere else but here--on earth. This is a lesson relevant to everyone, children and grown-ups alike.
  • What does Atzel and Aksah look like/
  • What happened when Atzel grew up?
  • According to the old nurse what is paradise like?
  • Did Atzel believe this? Why?
  • What did Atzel want to in order to get to paradise?
  • What were the reactions of his family members?
  • What did his parents do?
  • Who did his parents consult finally?
  • What’s the condition of the spcialist>
  • What did Dr. Yoetz do when he first saw the boy?
  • Did they follow Dr. Yoetz’s orders? How?
  • Was Atzel satisfied with his life in Paradise? Give some examples.
  • How did Atzel come back to earth?
  • Did Atzel become as normal as other people? Give some examples.
discussing the following topics
Discussing the following topics.

1. Why did Atzel want to kill himself after a few days' stay in paradise?

Atzel wanted to kill himself after a few days' stay in paradise because he found that life there was too monotonous. One could do nothing in paradise except eating the same thing everyday and sleeping.

2. What do you think the moral of the story is?

We should treasure the days while we are living and make the best of them.