17 January 2012
Russian Stories Compare and Contrast
The Russian short stories “The Bet”, “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, and “The Overcoat”, we read this year all have a similar theme. The characters in the stories were overwhelmed by greed and their selfish desires. The difference, however, was how each character handled it. Although the young lawyer in “The Bet” let his lust for money get the best of him, he came to realization of what was really important in life, other characters like Pahom in “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, and Akakiy Akakievitch in “The Overcoat” were not as lucky.
The similarity between these stories is that the main characters were overwhelmed by greed, and materialism. It caused them to end up into some unfavorable situations. In “The Bet”, a young lawyer accepted a bet from an older banker that he would spend fifteen years in solitary confinement for two million dollars. He was willing to throw away years of his life in exchange for money he could have made in those fifteen years. He let the money cloud his judgment and jumped into a situation without thinking about it first. In “The Overcoat”, Akakiy Akakievitch only cared about his job until it was time to replace his overcoat. At first, he didn’t want to do it but he slowly became more and more attached to the idea and began to do things like starve himself for the money to buy it. He was determined to do anything to get that new overcoat, which shows how materialist he was being. In “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, Pahom just , ike the other two characters became overwhelmed by his greed. Leo Tolstoy wrote “His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to he in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed” (9) He always wanted more land than he currently had. His own well-being wasn’t as important to him as getting more land was.
In the play The Crucible the structure of power goes through many different changes, different character groups such as farmers, slaves, preachers, judges, the girls and the wealthy landowners start to see their influence get strong or weaker as the play progresses. In the beginning of the story the preachers were looked at as one of the bigger powers in the community, because they were the ones ...
In all these stories all the main characters let their greed get the best of them, however, each character handled their situation differently, some better than others. In “The Bet” the young lawyer took a bet to stay in solitary confinement for fifteen years in exchange for two millions dollars. While confined he slowly became to realize what was really important in life, and the money wasn’t. He was dead when the banker found him but he left a letter for him about what he came to realize while in there. He talked about how nothing you have, or much wiser you are in the end when you die. Anton Chekhov writes “To prove to you in action how I despise all that you live by, I renounce the two millions of which I once dreamed as of paradise and which I now I despise”(5).
This quote shows how strongly the lawyer felt about the money after all those years gaining wisdom. In “The Overcoat”, Akakiy Akakievitch got a new overcoat that he and everyone else loved. When it got stolen he was broken, he would stop at nothing to find it, but it was more him wanting the coat to be accepted by everyone else because they liked it than him actually needing it. In “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, Pahom wanted more and more land than he had. He didn’t want it to please others like Akakiy, and he didn’t realize how insignificant the land actually was like the young lawyer, he wanted the land because of the power it thought it brought him.
In the Russian short stories “The Bet”, “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, and “The Overcoat” we read, the main characters became overwhelmed by greed and their selfish desires The difference, however, was how each character handled it. Although the young lawyer in “The Bet” let his lust for money get the best of him, he came to realization of what was really important in life, other characters like Pahom in “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, Pahom never realize that he was taken over by his greed, and Akakiy Akakievitch in “The Overcoat” would to anything for his new overcoat and to please others.
The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. This statement explains a major theme in the novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Everyone has dreams, and the characters in the novel are no different. But sometimes these dreams and aspirations can be shattered. The theme of broken dreams reoccurs in this novel through many characters, such as Lennie, George, Candy and Crooks. Lennie and ...