The Golem Summary

The Golem Summary

The short story “The Golem” revolves around the humorous meeting between an elderly Jewish couple, Mr. and Mrs. Gumbeiner, and the titular Golem. The tale begins benignly enough, with the retiree couple enjoying the autumn sunshine on their porch. Their reverie is soon ruined when old Mrs. Gumbeiner starts to nag her husband about who will mow their overgrown lawn.

While they enjoy the warmth of the sun the monotony is broken by the gradual approach of an odd-gaited, ashen complexioned “person.” Initially the wife comments that the “stranger” walks funny like there was something wrong with “him.” The husband comments that the “fellow” walks like a golem--and at this point the old pair begins to trade barbs with each other--Mrs. Gumbeiner commenting that the creature walks like his cousin, to Mr. Gumbeiner’s displeasure.

The grey hued humanoid continues to plod along and wordlessly strolls up to the senior couple and silently sits down, unbidden, in front of them, which is more that they can take. They proceed to talk to the mysterious creature with sarcasm, asking it if the chair was comfortable enough and ask it if it would like some tea as well. The stranger then begins to speak, with a hard, monotonous voice, explaining that the old couple would quake in fear once they learn of who--or rather what--he actually was.

The thinly veiled threat is greeted with a scolding from Mrs. Gumbeiner, rather than fear. She begins scolding The Golem as if it were nothing more than an erring child. The Golem tries once more to establish itself as an agent of fear and destruction but this time his threats and posturing are met with old-fashioned husband and wife acerbic banter--targeted at each other--rather than towards The Golem. The barbed exchanges of witty remarks then quickly shift to terms of endearment, baffling the clueless android.

This time The Golem switches tactics, taking a more scientific approach to getting its point across. It begins to mention a certain Prof. Allardyce, apparently some brilliant scientist and it’s creator, and begins rattling off the professor’s many fields of scientific expertise only to be cutoff once more by the couple admiring the machine’s intelligent talk. Immediately the Gumbeiner couple presumes that The Golem has perhaps come from the nearby University and they ask if it knows a certain “Bud” character frustrating it further.

This cycle of intimidation being met with either the couple’s admonition and/or ignorant completely left-field remarks go on for a bit until The Golem goes too far insulting Mrs. Gumbeiner calling her a “foolish old woman” and emphasizes that it is going to destroy the world. This proves too much for the protective husband. He is snapped out of his quasi-understanding of the situation and gives the pitiful automaton an old fashioned backhanded slap that unexpectedly knocks it backwards and unto the pavement, ripping open it’s artificial skin, exposing the machinery within thus revealing that it is indeed what it and Mr. Gumbeiner, claim it to be: a Golem.

Surprisingly, the couple remains unfazed and the husband gives his wife the obligatory “I told you so.” He then proceeds to clumsily put The Golem back together best as he can all the while recalling old tales told to him as a boy about golems and how they were built to protect Jewish ghettos or serve rabbi’s; all this done as Mrs. Gumbeiner pressures her husband to do a good job of putting the machine back together.

Soon as The Golem is “rebuilt” Mr. Gumbeiner gives it a good dressing down, stressing that he is the boss and that it must do his bidding. The poor Golem now realizes the truth: these two are either completely fearless or foolish to the point of fearlessness and it does what it is told to do: mow the Gumbeiner’s overgrown lawn.

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