In the department of but I had better not mention in what department. There is nothing in the world more readily moved to wrath than a department, a regiment, . In the department of -- but it is better not to mention the department. There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word. The Overcoat. Nikolai Gogol. MARK wrinkled cheeks and a complexion that might be aptly de- scribed as hemorrhoidal. But that's the Petersburg climate for you.
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In the department of but it is better not to name the department. There is nothing more irritable than all kinds of departments, regiments, courts of justice and. PDF | Written by the renowned Russian novelist Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol in as a short novel, " The Overcoat " is a highly influential text. PDF | 60+ minutes read | This paper examines the processes of structural formations in Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat, employing Karl Marx's theory of.
Akaky finds no help from the authorities in recovering his lost overcoat. After keeping Akaky waiting, the general demands of him exactly why he has brought so trivial a matter to him, personally, and not presented it to his secretary. Socially inept Akaky makes an unflattering remark concerning departmental secretaries, provoking so powerful a scolding from the general that he nearly faints and must be led from the general's office. Soon afterward, Akaky falls deathly ill with fever.
In his last hours, he is delirious, imagining himself again sitting before the general; at first, Akaky pleads forgiveness, but as his death nears, he curses the general. Soon, a corpse, identified as Akaky's ghost, haunts areas of St.
Petersburg, taking overcoats from people; the police are finding it difficult to capture him. Finally, Akaky's ghost catches up with the general—who, since Akaky's death, had begun to feel guilt over having mistreated him—and takes his overcoat, frightening him terribly; satisfied, Akaky is not seen again.
The narrator ends his narration with the account of another ghost seen in another part of the city. Characters[ edit ] Akaky Akakievitch Bashmachkin: Bureaucrat in one of the departments of the Russian government in St. Petersburg, the nation's capital city. Bashmachkin, about fifty, is a quiet, self-effacing man with red hair and a receding hairline. His job is to copy documents such as letters. Although he enjoys his work and never makes a mistake, he has no desire to take on more challenging work, realizing that he has limited capabilities.
Because he is meek and dresses shabbily, most of his coworkers regard him as a nobody and frequently pick on him. When his cloak becomes so frayed that it can no longer protect him against the bitter cold, he dedicates himself to saving enough money to download a new cloak. Petrovitch was once a serf.
The policeman asks Akaky embarrassing questions, as if he were a criminal. The policeman is of no help. He excoriates Akaky for not going through the proper government channels to get an interview.
He is of no help.
He tells Akaky's landlady to order a coffin. In addition, the literal meaning of the name, derived from the Greek, is "harmless" or "lacking evil", showing the humiliation it must have taken to drive his ghost to violence.
His surname Bashmachkin, meanwhile, comes from the word 'bashmak', a type of shoe. Where was the money to come from? He might, to be sure, depend, in part, upon his present at Christmas; but that money had long been allotted beforehand. He must have some new trousers, and pay a debt of long standing to the shoemaker for putting new tops to his old boots, and he must order three shirts from the seamstress, and a couple of pieces of linen. But although he knew that Petrovitch would undertake to make a cloak for eighty rubles, still, where was he to get the eighty rubles from?
He might possibly manage half, yes, half might be procured, but where was the other half to come from? But the reader must first be told where the first half came from. Akakiy Akakievitch had a habit of putting, for every ruble he spent, a groschen into a small box, fastened with a lock and key, and with a slit in the top for the reception of money. At the end of every half-year he counted over the heap of coppers, and changed it for silver.
This he had done for a long time, and in the course of years, the sum had mounted up to over forty rubles. Thus he had one half on hand; but where was he to find the other half? When he went into the street, he must walk as lightly as he could, and as cautiously, upon the stones, almost upon tiptoe, in order not to wear his heels down in too short a time; he must give the laundress as little to wash as possible; and, in order not to wear out his clothes, he must take them off, as soon as he got home, and wear only his cotton dressing-gown, which had been long and carefully saved.
To tell the truth, it was a little hard for him at first to accustom himself to these deprivations; but he got used to them at length, after a fashion, and all went smoothly.
He even got used to being hungry in the evening, but he made up for it by treating himself, so to say, in spirit, by bearing ever in mind the idea of his future cloak.
He became more lively, and even his character grew firmer, like that of a man who has made up his mind, and set himself a goal. From his face and gait, doubt and indecision, all hesitating and wavering traits disappeared of themselves.
Fire gleamed in his eyes, and occasionally the boldest and most daring ideas flitted through his mind; why not, for instance, have marten fur on the collar? The thought of this almost made him absent-minded. Once, in the course of every month, he had a conference with Petrovitch on the subject of the cloak, where it would be better to download the cloth, and the colour, and the price.
He always returned home satisfied, though troubled, reflecting that the time would come at last when it could all be bought, and then the cloak made.
The affair progressed more briskly than he had expected. Whether he suspected that Akakiy Akakievitch needed a cloak, or whether it was merely chance, at all events, twenty extra rubles were by this means provided.
This circumstance hastened matters. Two or three months more of hunger and Akakiy Akakievitch had accumulated about eighty rubles. His heart, generally so quiet, began to throb. On the first possible day, he went shopping in company with Petrovitch. They bought some very good cloth, and at a reasonable rate too, for they had been considering the matter for six months, and rarely let a month pass without their visiting the shops to inquire prices.
Petrovitch himself said that no better cloth could be had. For lining, they selected a cotton stuff, but so firm and thick that Petrovitch declared it to be better than silk, and even prettier and more glossy. They did not download the marten fur, because it was, in fact, dear, but in its stead, they picked out the very best of cat-skin which could be found in the shop, and which might, indeed, be taken for marten at a distance.
Petrovitch worked at the cloak two whole weeks, for there was a great deal of quilting: otherwise it would have been finished sooner. He charged twelve rubles for the job, it could not possibly have been done for less. It was all sewed with silk, in small, double seams; and Petrovitch went over each seam afterwards with his own teeth, stamping in various patterns. He brought it in the morning, before the hour when it was necessary to start for the department. Never did a cloak arrive so exactly in the nick of time; for the severe cold had set in, and it seemed to threaten to increase.
Petrovitch brought the cloak himself as befits a good tailor. On his countenance was a significant expression, such as Akakiy Akakievitch had never beheld there. He seemed fully sensible that he had done no small deed, and crossed a gulf separating tailors who only put in linings, and execute repairs, from those who make new things.
He took the cloak out of the pocket handkerchief in which he had brought it. The handkerchief was fresh from the laundress, and he put it in his pocket for use.
Taking out the cloak, he gazed proudly at it, held it up with both hands, and flung it skilfully over the shoulders of Akakiy Akakievitch. Then he pulled it and fitted it down behind with his hand, and he draped it around Akakiy Akakievitch without buttoning it. Akakiy Akakievitch, like an experienced man, wished to try the sleeves. Petrovitch helped him on with them, and it turned out that the sleeves were satisfactory also.
In short, the cloak appeared to be perfect, and most seasonable. Petrovitch did not neglect to observe that it was only because he lived in a narrow street, and had no signboard, and had known Akakiy Akakievitch so long, that he had made it so cheaply; but that if he had been in business on the Nevsky Prospect, he would have charged seventy-five rubles for the making alone. Akakiy Akakievitch did not care to argue this point with Petrovitch.
He paid him, thanked him, and set out at once in his new cloak for the department. Petrovitch followed him, and, pausing in the street, gazed long at the cloak in the distance, after which he went to one side expressly to run through a crooked alley, and emerge again into the street beyond to gaze once more upon the cloak from another point, namely, directly in front. Meantime Akakiy Akakievitch went on in holiday mood. He was conscious every second of the time that he had a new cloak on his shoulders; and several times he laughed with internal satisfaction.
In fact, there were two advantages, one was its warmth, the other its beauty. He saw nothing of the road, but suddenly found himself at the department. He took off his cloak in the ante-room, looked it over carefully, and confided it to the especial care of the attendant. All rushed at the same moment into the ante-room to inspect it. They congratulated him and said pleasant things to him, so that he began at first to smile and then to grow ashamed.
Akakiy Akakievitch would have declined, but all declared that it was discourteous, that it was simply a sin and a shame, and that he could not possibly refuse.
Besides, the notion became pleasant to him when he recollected that he should thereby have a chance of wearing his new cloak in the evening also. That whole day was truly a most triumphant festival day for Akakiy Akakievitch. He returned home in the most happy frame of mind, took off his cloak, and hung it carefully on the wall, admiring afresh the cloth and the lining. Then he brought out his old, worn-out cloak, for comparison. He looked at it and laughed, so vast was the difference.
He dined cheerfully, and after dinner wrote nothing, but took his ease for a while on the bed, until it got dark. Then he dressed himself leisurely, put on his cloak, and stepped out into the street.
Where the host lived, unfortunately we cannot say: our memory begins to fail us badly; and the houses and streets in St. Petersburg have become so mixed up in our head that it is very difficult to get anything out of it again in proper form. Pedestrians began to appear; handsomely dressed ladies were more frequently encountered; the men had otter skin collars to their coats; peasant waggoners, with their grate-like sledges stuck over with brass-headed nails, became rarer; whilst on the other hand, more and more drivers in red velvet caps, lacquered sledges and bear-skin coats began to appear, and carriages with rich hammer-cloths flew swiftly through the streets, their wheels scrunching the snow.
Akakiy Akakievitch gazed upon all this as upon a novel sight. He had not been in the streets during the evening for years. He halted out of curiosity before a shop-window to look at a picture representing a handsome woman, who had thrown off her shoe, thereby baring her whole foot in a very pretty way; whilst behind her the head of a man with whiskers and a handsome moustache peeped through the doorway of another room.
Akakiy Akakievitch shook his head and laughed, and then went on his way. Why did he laugh?
What is to be said? Akakiy Akakievitch at length reached the house in which the sub-chief lodged. The sub-chief lived in fine style: the staircase was lit by a lamp; his apartment being on the second floor. On entering the vestibule, Akakiy Akakievitch beheld a whole row of goloshes on the floor. Among them, in the centre of the room, stood a samovar or tea-urn, humming and emitting clouds of steam. On the walls hung all sorts of coats and cloaks, among which there were even some with beaver collars or velvet facings.
Beyond, the buzz of conversation was audible, and became clear and loud when the servant came out with a trayful of empty glasses, cream-jugs, and sugar-bowls.
It was evident that the officials had arrived long before, and had already finished their first glass of tea. Akakiy Akakievitch, having hung up his own cloak, entered the inner room. Before him all at once appeared lights, officials, pipes, and card-tables; and he was bewildered by the sound of rapid conversation rising from all the tables, and the noise of moving chairs.
He halted very awkwardly in the middle of the room, wondering what he ought to do.
But they had seen him. They received him with a shout, and all thronged at once into the ante-room, and there took another look at his cloak. Akakiy Akakievitch, although somewhat confused, was frank-hearted, and could not refrain from rejoicing when he saw how they praised his cloak.
Then, of course, they all dropped him and his cloak, and returned, as was proper, to the tables set out for whist. All this, the noise, the talk, and the throng of people was rather overwhelming to Akakiy Akakievitch. He simply did not know where he stood, or where to put his hands, his feet, and his whole body. Finally he sat down by the players, looked at the cards, gazed at the face of one and another, and after a while began to gape, and to feel that it was wearisome, the more so as the hour was already long past when he usually went to bed.
He wanted to take leave of the host; but they would not let him go, saying that he must not fail to drink a glass of champagne in honour of his new garment.
They made Akakiy Akakievitch drink two glasses of champagne, after which he felt things grow livelier. In order that the host might not think of some excuse for detaining him, he stole out of the room quickly, sought out, in the ante-room, his cloak, which, to his sorrow, he found lying on the floor, brushed it, picked off every speck upon it, put it on his shoulders, and descended the stairs to the street.
In the street all was still bright. Some petty shops, those permanent clubs of servants and all sorts of folk, were open. Others were shut, but, nevertheless, showed a streak of light the whole length of the door-crack, indicating that they were not yet free of company, and that probably some domestics, male and female, were finishing their stories and conversations whilst leaving their masters in complete ignorance as to their whereabouts.
Akakiy Akakievitch went on in a happy frame of mind: he even started to run, without knowing why, after some lady, who flew past like a flash of lightning. But he stopped short, and went on very quietly as before, wondering why he had quickened his pace. Soon there spread before him those deserted streets, which are not cheerful in the daytime, to say nothing of the evening.
Now they were even more dim and lonely: the lanterns began to grow rarer, oil, evidently, had been less liberally supplied. Then came wooden houses and fences: not a soul anywhere; only the snow sparkled in the streets, and mournfully veiled the low-roofed cabins with their closed shutters.
He approached the spot where the street crossed a vast square with houses barely visible on its farther side, a square which seemed a fearful desert. He entered the square, not without an involuntary sensation of fear, as though his heart warned him of some evil.
The cloth was worn so thin that it let the draft in, and, to make things worse, the lining had disintegrated. They had even deprived it of its respectable name, referring to it as the old dressing gown. And, as far as that goes, it did have a strange shape. Its collar shrank with every year, since it was used to patch other areas. In this he was true to the traditions of his forefathers, and when his wife nagged him about it, he called her impious and a German. But unfortunately very little is known about her, except that Pe- trovich had a wife who wore a bonnet instead of a kerchief but was apparently no beauty, since, on meeting her, it occurred to no one but an occasional soldier to peek under that bonnet of hers, twitching his mustache and making gurgling sounds.
Akaky Akakievich went through the kitchen without even seeing Mrs. On his knees there was some old garment. True, afterwards his wife would come whining that her husband had charged too little because he was drunk; but all you had to do was to add ten kopeks and it was a deal. This time, however, Petrovich seemed to be sober and there- fore curt, intractable, and likely to charge an outrageous price.
Akaky Akakievich realized this and would have liked to beat a hasty retreat, but the die was cast. Taking some snuff, Petrovich spread the overcoat out on his hands, held it up against the light, and again shook his head. Then he turned the overcoat inside out, with the lining up, and shook his head again. The whole thing is rotten. View Full Document. I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer.
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