Russian History

Answer one question and submit one page to the Assignments. Use citations to support your arguments. If you want you can work in groups (up to 4 students) on one question and submit one mini-essay with the same grade for all members. You can search for a collaborator via Questions and Help Forum and work on GoogleDoc.

1. What are the characteristics of AA before the necessity of the new coat came forward?

What was his life? His speech/vocabulary?

Outward image of AA. Whom he represents – the Russians or all downtrodden?

Is his life empty/”vegetable”?

2. Describe the way in which AA’s life is affected by the idea of the overcoat.

What changes do we see in the hero dreaming about the coat and then acquiring it?

Are they not strange?

Describe his ascetic deed (like a saint’s life) to save for the coat. Does the coat deserve to be a goal of life?

What deserves to be a goal of life?

What changes do we see in the hero after the loss of the coat?

His actions, language?

The subtitle of “The Overcoat” is “Saint Petersburg Story”(the same as Pushkin’s Bronze Horseman) Akakii is lonely in his environment. What opposes ‘a little man’ in the story? What are their relations? Describe and conceptualize his surroundings – his office, society, bureaucrats, the city (city in general and in particular)…poverty.

Analyze what role did Important Person played in the life of AA.

Why without a name? His characteristics?

His language?

What changes occurred in IP?

What did he represent/symbolize?

Analyze the end of the story.

How do you explain the appearance of a ghost?

Revenge to whom?

Liberation from what?

The ability of a “little man” for rebellion (compare with Eugene in Bronze Horseman) against the “little man” oppressors? Against whom?

If you could take away the ghost story ending would you leave it in or take it out and why? What is the moral of the story?

According to Gogol, who is responsible of the dire condition of the hero? Uncaring society or the hero himself?

Is a story a social critique? Against what? For what?

Is it a humanitarian message about Christian compassion?

How would you (the reader) resolve a moral dilemma of one’s attitude toward intellectually, psychologically, and culturally “insignificant” people, such inferior figure like AA – pity, disdain, sympathy?

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