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Olesha Essay: Envy - Schroeder Joey 1 Literature In...

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Schroeder, Joey · 1 Literature In Translation 204 · Section 302 E NVY : K AVALEROV S S URRENDER TO H IS I MAGINATION Yuri Olesha’s Envy is a novel that follows a pitiable man named Nikolai Kavalerov who struggles with his transition into the new Soviet world. He believes himself to be creative and intelligent, however hindered by the post-revolutionary world. He prefers the values of the old world, the one in which he feels he would have been successful. In the novel, Kavalerov is surrounded by those that thrive in the new community. Because he cannot ignore them, he chooses to minimize them. Kavalerov uses mirrors to distort the world into his own disfigured realm. Mirrors are used to depict three stages of Kavalerov’s decline into his own fantasy dimension. The first stage of Kavalerov’s slip into his own alternative reality happens while he recalls himself changing his shirt in front of a mirror. I [Kavalerov]…was suddenly struck by my amazing resemblance to my father, ” (269). At this time, Kavalerov is still living in the physical world, the world of Russia. I [Kavalerov] felt sorry for him [Kavalerov’s Father]. He no longer had the possibility of being handsome or famous, he was already done, completed, there was no longer any change that he might be anything other than what he was, ” (269). This is the only time in the novel where Kavalerov sees a legitimate reflection of himself in the mirror. Soon after, while dreaming, Kavalerov proves himself to be within the mirror’s reflection, instead of his father: No one has ever loved me without being paid for it. As for whores, even they would try to take me for all they could, ” (271). Kavalerov 3/9/2008
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Schroeder, Joey · 2 Literature In Translation 204 · Section 302 pities his father for his lack of beauty, though Kavalerov is the one that repels the lowest of women. Kavalerov has become his father, though he only admits it in dreams. He is describing himself, using his father’s name in his place. This proves that Kavalerov’s fade into his hallucination is already beginning. I [Kavalerov] pitied him [Kavalerov’s Father] and quietly prided myself on my own advantage, ” (269). The only advantage Kavalerov has
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