***Directions for test distributed on Monday!!!
Last time: Narrative structure of the novel. Speaking about the playfulness of Gogol’s narrator.
He learned this tactic from english lit, but had gone out of style. So, Russian Lit, catching up, we
get a playful self aware narrator who draws our attention to the artifice of what he’s doing.
Instead of trying to make us forget that what we’re reading is an invention; Gogol draws our
attention to the difference. The characters are presented to us as “puppets” created by the
narrator… To emphasize the artificialy of the story.
CHap 2-6 cover Chichikov’s visits.
Its as if we are walking a long hall with portraits on either side.
Portraits follow same pattern
Environment - House/Estate
Hospitality - How they great and entertain
Symbol/Dominant Motif -
Reaction to Chichikov’s offer - Ultimate test
Each character occupies a type; a psychological and moral type. Opposed to Dante, each circle
represents a type of sin.
Characters being discussed today. Approached about proposal
Manilov - Complacency and extreme fantasy which justifies inaction. Names are significant.
Comes from “to beckon/to call/to lure”. Connected to the idea of mirage. Entices us, but if we try
to walk towards that fantasy, we see smoke. SMOKE is one of the motifs of Manilov’s
Physical Appearance - Incipid
Speech Style - Overzealous niceness. See in 18th century novels. So polite that its
sickening. When he hears the way Manilov speaks, he exploits this speech style.
Chichikov is capable of switching speak codes!!!! Language is a weapon/tool.
Environment - Garden and House have being almost right, in common. Something is
always missing or unfinished. Chair finishing. Tobacco in his study. Non-matching
Family - Greek names with a latin ending. THere is a cultural pretention to clasical
estate, and its a parody since they cannot properly handle the foreign names.
Hospitality - Appearance of goodness only. Manilov does not control his servants. Only
fanticizes about taking care of his estate.
Symbol/Dominant Motif - Smoke. His own smoking. Vain fantacies. Immediately
recognized in culture, so the term Manilov Stuff. Indicates daydreams disconnected from
Reaction to Chichikov’s offer - Uncritical acceptance out of desire to oblige.
Kovobochka - Provincialism and supersticion. “little box”Associated with closed space. Physical Appearance - Description of clothes is more important. Incipit. Nothing to look
at.Accidental visit. Only woman he visits. In her physique, there is a parody of sexual
menace. When she offers to rub his back or scratch his feet.
Speech Style - Uneducated, supersticious. Chichokov immediately switches speech
styles.Apretty crude language.Ameta-commentary by the narrator. Explicitly suggests
he is a chameleon. “THe reader has already noticed……”See page 53-54
Environment - House/Estate. Lives on her farm. Glorified peasant. Immersed in daily
Family - No family. Widow.
Hospitality - Grudging. Bed is soft. Food is good. Plain but tasty.
Symbol/Dominant Motif - Birds. Inrelation to their meeting, this is the stuff of fairy tales.
Mythical crone. Just like Baba Yaga. Wench.
Reaction to Chichikov’s offer - Business like! Doesn’t understand. Haggles for a good
price. COuldn’t care less if legal.
***Gogol thinks of landowners as quasimythical types.
Nozdrev - Represents prophlegasy. Lack of self control. Scandal mongering. “Nosdra”. Two
russian proverbs which describe his type. Boasts all the time. “He sums up his nose”. Lies all the
time. Tries to swindle chichokov. “He leads me by the nose.” Thats why association with nostril.
Physical Appearance - Healthy. But absurd! Whiskers thinner on one side. Never said,
but we assume he gets beaten all the time. He’s a card shark, so he gets beaten often.
Speech Style - Boistrous yet insultingly familiar.Addresses them with the familiar
“though”. There are two ways of addressing people, but addresses him with too much
Environment - Riotous and jumbled inconsitency. No peasant houses, but claims to have
a big estate. Water mill lacks stone. Borders he claims is actually disputed
Family - COmoplete mess. He does have a family. Used to be married. Has children, but
doesn’t take care of them. Has pretty nurse.
Hospitality - Bad food. Lots of alcohol. No notion of the culture of drinking. Ex: No
mixing. He mixes all. his alcohol is inappropriately strong.
Symbol/Dominant Motif - Puppies. Excitability turning to aggresion all the time.
Excitable/gambling. Passionate man. Wants to beat up chichikov. Chichikov saved
miraculously. Like puppy, totally powerless.Apolice officer shows up and he
immediately calms down like a puppy.Another example is the barrell organ.
Reaction to Chichikov’s offer - Funniest. Isn’t trying to understand.Accepts on one
condition:Gamble. Relinquish souls so long as they play checkers.
None of the first 3 care about the morality of the sale.
Sobakevich - Greed. Social solidity. Bad mouth. Slanderous. Name means, “son of a dog.”
Has to do with old russian semantic attached to a sound a dog makes. Two russian words in
modern russian mean to bark. Actually they have a second meaning, to tell untruth and to curse.
Dogs are considered dirty and are not allowed into a church. If they make it in, there is a special
rite that must be performed. They are satin’s familiars.
Physical Appearance - Crude but solid. Like a poorly worked wooden log or a puppet.
Come close to inanimate dead soul. Speech Style - Ponderous silence. When he does talk, he constanty attacks his own friend
and relatives behind their back.
Environment - Crude but solid. “a battle between the architects idea of symmetry and the
owners idea of comfort.”
Family - Married. Solid marriage. No children. Poor female relative living with them.
Hospitality - S. eats mostly meat dishes.Associated with dogs and bears. Carniverous.
Eats a lot!
Symbol/Dominant Motif - Bear/Dog
Reaction to Chichikov’s offer - Only one who understands that its illegal. Knows it is
unethical. Goes ahead anyway, and covers up for Chichikov when word breaks in town.A
profiteer! Hardest to convince because he is trying to jack up the price. Swindle’s
chichikov by selling him a woman!!!
Pliushkin - Greed without solidity. Associated with decay. Miser who turns all he touches into
dust. Anti king midas. Comes from Pliushka like a pastry.
Physical Appearance - Fluid. Maybe a man, maybe a woman. Social status is unclear
from his physique. Is he a master or servant?Abunch of keys on his belt. Chichikov is
confused. Rich man but a beggar. Penny pinching.
Speech Style - Abusive. Crude. Of a servant, not landowner. Servile and aggressive with
Environment - Delapidated. Hoarding. Neglected. Composty. Rubbish. Literally heaps of
Family -Alone. Used to be married. Daughter eloped. Tries to stay in touch, but
Pliushkin thinks her husband is going to swindle him.
Hospitality - Nothing. Begrudges everything. Whatever he offers is absolutely disgusting.
Pliushkin offers chichikov a moldy cake where flies have been. Offers a represents
himself. Moldy but recognizable.
Symbol/Dominant Motif - Keys/Hoarding. Patched ass.