Jan 24 SLA212 Lecture Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
St. Michael's College Courses

***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 PhysicalAppearance Speech Style Environment - House/Estate Family - 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 presentation 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 candlesticks. 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 reality. 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 farm management. 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 familiarity. 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 Chichikov. Environment - Delapidated. Hoarding. Neglected. Composty. Rubbish. Literally heaps of rubbish. 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.
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