GOGOL - Jen Winston Masterpieces of the Russian Short Story...

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Jen Winston Masterpieces of the Russian Short Story October 1, 2007 Compare and Contrast #1 Comparing and Contrasting the Short Stories of Gogol In comparison to many Russian authors, Nikolai Gogol is very unique. He is satirical, upsetting, detailed, and poetic all at the same time. “The Overcoat” and “The Calash” are both excellent examples of this and are very similar to each other. Both short stories deal with the issue of class standing, address relationships with women, and do so in a comedic manner while containing an underlying theme attacking the idea of a materialistic society. It is possible Gogol foresaw this phenomenon and both stories were part of an attempt to warn society. Gogol’s writing is also representational of his life, and one can also see that in both of these pieces. Probably the most obvious comparison between “The Overcoat” and “The Calash” is the stress put on a material object to achieve popularity in a material world. In “The Overcoat,” Akaki’s status is elevated and then diminished due to a simple coat. Once he has the coat, he is suddenly drinking champagne and mingling with his coworkers. This scene is Gogol’s representation of the living the high life. On the contrary, in “The Calash,” Pythagoravich begins living said “high life,” socializing with generals and playing poker with men of high rank. He drinks wine merrily, and yet somehow is still not content with his position. His desire to impress his superiors is what drives him to brag about a beautiful carriage that does not exist. Instantly, he is even
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more welcomed. While Akaki’s change in social status is short-lived, it is much more drastic and, in a sense, more deserved. He is a social pariah and achieves one day of happiness just before it is ripped away from him. Pythagoravich simply wants more than
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GOGOL - Jen Winston Masterpieces of the Russian Short Story...

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