Gogol’s Petersburg Tales Essay

Compare Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat” with the other St. Petersburg narratives. Nikolai Gogol’s St. Petersburg narratives have been interpreted as narratives of societal unfairness. urban and human isolation. psychological surveies. love narratives. moralistic fabrications and societal sarcasms. In maintaining with emerging tendencies of “naturalistic” authorship. the narratives deal with comparatively humble members of the societal strata in the Petersburg bureaucratism – the everyman. This essay will compare “The Overcoat” with “Diary of a Madman” and “The Nose” and analyze how each of the chief characters in Gogol’s narratives survives in the apparently unnatural and fancied universe of St. Petersburg. The chief character in “The Overcoat” . Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin buries himself so profoundly in his paltry work of copying paperss that his work about supersedes the existent world in which he inhabits. he is described walking through the streets of St. Petersburg unmindful to the people around him or the rubbish being thrown out Windowss onto him. he sees nil but a line of beautiful words to copy.

He subsequently does the same when haunting about the coat which he is holding made to screen him from the acrimonious Russian winter. This demand to dissemble and insulate oneself from the cold abrasiveness of modern society is an thought which runs through these three narratives. and seemed to preoccupy Gogol himself. He was a close individual about which really small is known. he said himself in his letters “But how can one justice about a close individual in whom everything is indoors. whose character hasn’t even taken form but who is still educating himself in his psyche and whose every move produces merely misconstruing? How can one do decisions about such a individual establishing oneself on a few traits which have unwittingly stuck themselves out? Won’t this be the same as to reason about a book by a few sentences torn out of it – non in order either. but from different transitions. ” Gogol was interested in how the character and worth of person is judged by others. the characters in The Petersburg Stories are all defined. both by themselves and by others. by their professions. which are comically undistinguished. Akaky Akakievich copied pages and Poprishchin in “Diary of a Madman” was in charge of pencil sharpening.

These characters are defined by the function they serve as portion of the bureaucratism instead than by any sort of single individuality. Gogol paints a image of a society in which values the most superficial facets of a individual. an thought which is taken to amusing new highs in “The Nose” when the absurd and conceited chief character Major Kovalyov loses something which serves no great intent other than normalizing one’s visual aspect – his olfactory organ. Escape is indispensable for Gogol’s characters. Each of the chief characters feels happiest when they are detached from world. when they have some kind of rose-colored. fanciful insularity between them and the ineluctable humdrum of their lowly lives. Akaky Akakievich is described earning a disproportional sum of joy from his work copying paperss. smiling to himself as he coppied letters he peculiarly liked. traveling place and copying merely for merriment and “when all strive to deviate themselves” traveling to bed “smiling at idea of coming day” .

Akaky puts all of his religion and love and passion into something arbitrary and finally nonmeaningful as a header mechanism. for how else would he last his pathetic life? The chief character in “Diary of a Madman” Poprishkin is driven to a similar withdrawal from the existent universe as his lowly and socially immobile place as a titular council member becomes excessively much to bear. He loses his saneness but arguably additions something of greater value ; assurance and societal mobility. In making a universe for himself where he is no longer one of many centers aged. ill paid low ranking civil retainers but the King of Spain he frees himself from his smothering ties to social norms. he no longer believes in the built-in high quality of those of a higher societal position. he even has the audaciousness to name his employer as “an ordinary doornail. a simple doornail. nil more. The sort used in doors” . Similarly. Kovalyov deludes himself to give his life a sense of importance and significance.

He gives himself the rubric of “Major” and struts down Nevsky Prospect doing oculus contact with everyone and conceive ofing attending from ladies that he passes. The cardinal difference between the get bying mechanism employed by Akaky and the methods used by Poprishkin and Kobalev is that Akaky’s universe is non one which elevates his societal position. His highly introverted behavior does non interrupt the position quo. It is arguably their compulsion with category and how they appear to others which causes all of both Kovalev and Poprishkin’s discord. Contrastingly. Akaky merely wants to be left entirely. he doesn’t attention that people frequently see him with trifle or hay stuck to the dorsum of his ness. this makes Akaky a more sympathetic. sympathetic character. he is wholly harmless and guiltless – a perfect victim. This is the lone narrative in which Gogol allows us to be to the full sympathetic with a character. There are
so minutes in “Diary of a Madman” which could and should stir understanding for Poprishkin in the reader. but Gogol ever undermines these minutes with a humourous or absurd remark.

In “The Overcoat” nevertheless. the narrative tone somersaults from bosom wrenchingly sad to funny and light hearted and so back once more in the infinite of a page – Gogol displays his endowment for arousing understanding and emotion in a reader and his gift for comedy side by side. It is non merely the characters who seek to cover themselves up and hide the truth from the reader ; there is a deficiency of dependability coupled with bunk running through all three of the narrations which stubbornly refuses to do sense. “The Overcoat” introduces us to this instantly. it begins with a aside “In the section of — but it is better non to advert the section. ” The storyteller continues in this vena. utilizing a colloquial. undependable tone. frequently burying the facts or losing their topographic point in the narrative.

Gogol’s deliberate elusiveness undermines the thought of the all-knowing auctorial voice of the storyteller and injects intuition and confusion into the narrative. Gogol uses a similar narrative voice in “The Nose” . The storyteller of “The Nose” is likewise uninformed and unretentive and makes no effort to clarify the ground for all the eccentric happenings in the narrative. Thingss in these narratives can frequently merely disappear into a whiff of fume. Gogol increases the confusion. and elusiveness with the usage of a batch of mist and fume imagination. he is like a prestidigitator. dissembling his purposes. maintaining himself safe behind a cloud of bunk and a mist of confusion.

Gogol’s St. Petersburg narratives portray many different types of characters. but permeating through the narratives and unifying them is this sense of heightened uneasiness a demand to protect oneself from a befuddling. cold rough universe. Gogol himself set it best in another St Petersburg narrative – Nevsky Prospekt “It had seemed as if some devil had crumbled the universe into spots and assorted all these spots randomly together”

Gogol. Nikolai – translated by Macandrew. Andrew R and Meyer. Priscilla The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories – SIGNET CLASSICS. January 2005. New York. NY/US One Of The Oldest Cases Of Schizophrenia In Gogol’s “Diary Of A Madman” Eric Lewin AltschulerBMJ: British Medical Journal. Vol. 323. No. 7327 ( Dec. 22 – 29. 2001 ) . pp. 1475-1477 Published by: BMJ Publishing Group
Article Stable Uniform resource locator: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. jstor. org/stable/25468632 Dissembling the Self: The Literary Space of Gogol’s “Overcoat” Charles C. Bernheimer – PMLA. Vol. 90. No. 1 ( Jan. . 1975 ) . pp. 53-61 – Published by: Modern Language Association – Article Stable URL: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. jstor. org/stable/461347 The Laughter of Gogol – R. W. Hallett – Russian Review. Vol. 30. No. 4 ( Oct. . 1971 ) . pp. 373-384 – Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review – Article Stable URL: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. jstor. org/stable/127792


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