"The Overcoat" is a story by a Russian author Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol. Even though most romantics place their main characters on prestigious places in the society Gogol did just the opposite.
The main character is an ordinary worker who transcripts books. Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin isn't rich, doesn’t have a big house or a huge salary. The author created an anti-hero who takes his revenge after his overcoat gets stolen.
The real importance of the story is in the style. It is written with a sad humor and the ending gives it a grotesque ton. The reader feels sympathy for Akaky who is laughed out by the grotesque humor.
The author’s style is simple and with a few words he manages to show the character’s states of mind. With this story Gogol gave his critic of the society and he judged harshly inhumanity and people’s bad behavior. In the end Gogol does express some hope that the human conscious will save him.
Genre: short story
Akaky Akakievich wasn’t a person who left an impression on anyone and he was born on March 23rd. He was named after his father and he was short, with ginger hair and wrinkles on both sides of his face. Akaky was a bit strange.
He transcripts for a living and he loves his job. Even when he was offered a different job he declined because the new job was to tiring for him. Akaky never socialized much with other people and nobody paid attention to him. He was often the punch line of many jokes because of his clothing style. Above everything many made fun of his overcoat that was old and ripped. He never paid much attention to anybody’s opinion and just kept on doing his job.
The overcoat was so old that it started to leak all around. Akaky didn’t have a problem with that until it got cold outside and he couldn’t bare the pain in his back. The Russian winters were awfully cold. He decided to take his overcoat to a tailor but he told him it is impossible to patch up the overcoat.
Akaky became pale when he heard that because he knew he could never afford himself a new overcoat. The tailor Petrovich felt sorry for him and decided to help him. He decided to fix his old overcoat if Akaky buys the lining but even then Akaky was short on money.
Petrovich told him to try to gather the money for a new overcoat. He suggested him to stop drinking tea, eating dinner, spend money on candles and to watch out for his clothes more so he doesn’t have to wash them a lot.
Akaky saved the money for roughly six months and then he went shopping with Petrovich. They were looking for cheap material.
When the overcoat was done he couldn’t be happier. He felt like it was holiday. Soon the other employees at work started to look at him differently and one of them even invited a few of them to come and celebrate Akaky’s new overcoat. Akaky encountered the social life for the first time and everything was strange to him, even a little uncomfortable.
When Akaky was going home he was attacked by two men and they took his overcoat. When he finally gained conscious he couldn’t believe his overcoat was gone.
He reported the robbery but the officer didn’t listen to him. His landlord advised him to talk to the chief and he set an appointment with him. When he came there Akaky was disappointed after the chief threw him out just to humor an old friend that was visiting him.
After that,Akaky was scared and during the cold winter he got ill and died. Before he died, Akaky was delusional and started seeing things.
The very next day Akaky was replaced by another employee who wrote differently than Akaky. The chief came looking for him but it was too late because Akaky was dead.
Stories about a man who goes around stealing overcoats started to circle the town. One day the chief was going home when he felt somebody taking off his overcoat. When he turned around he saw Akaky.
Akaky laughed at the chief and told him that he will give him his overcoat because he never fought for Akaky’s overcoat and rights.
Characters: Akaky Akakievich, Petrovich, the chief, other employees
Akaky Akakievich - simple and good hearted man. He was short, ginger haired and had freckles. Akaky loved his job and treated with great respect. Even though his colleagues made fun of him he enjoyed his job and acted indifferent towards all jokes. He had a strong character and when he wanted to do something he didn’t stop until he did it. He was modest and always tried to save up money. He looked forward to small things so the new overcoat was like a dream come true for him.
Petrovich - old and capable tailor. Even though he lost one eye he was successful at what he did. Sometimes he would be a little cruel and overcharged some people just so he could make more money but he was honest when he saw a man with no money. That is the reason why he helped Akaky and tailored him a overcoat for a very low price. He was very stubborn so when he made up his mind nobody could change it.
The chief - deep down he was a good person but when he became the chief he started to be a stuck up. He didn’t know how to behave anymore. When he was around the people of his class he behaved nicely, but when he socialized with people below him he would totally change his attitude. The chief was cold and quiet so that he would never make an overly friendly relationship with anyone. For everyone he appeared to be a boring and quiet man.
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol Biography
Nikolaj Vasilievich Gogol is a founder of a Russian realism. He is born at 31st of March, 1809, in a town of Veliki Sorochinci, Ukraine, who was a part of a great Russian Empire at that time.
At the end of his education, at the age 19, he leaves for Petersburg where he becomes a clerk after trying a lot of different jobs, including acting as well.
After several years of working for the government,he decided to change his career path, becoming a history teacher in a school for ladies, working as a private tutor at the same time.
He publishes his first book of stories, "Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka", soon becoming popular among the writers and becoming a close friend of Pushkin. In 1835. he publishes yet another book of stories, "Mirgorod", with one of the stories being named "Taras Bulba". That story becomes a theme for his novel,published under the same name in 1842. That same year he also publishes "Arabesque", a book of essays and stories, beginning his cycle of "Peterburgian tales", including the famous short stories " The Nose" and "The Overcoat".
The comedy "The Government Inspector" in 1836. becomes a huge success, often thought that the inspiration for that comedy and the novel "Dead Souls" came from his friend Pushkin, originally imagined as a trilogy, modeled upon the Dante's "Divine Comedy".
The first part of the "Dead Souls" are actually representing the hell, with the second part being destroyed after a decade of work by Gogol himself when he became a religious fanatic. He even traveled to Palestine as a pilgrim in 1848. It is considered that he burnt the second part of the novel influenced by one priest. Gogol dies at 4th of March, 1852.
Bok reports from Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol