A Summary of Saltykov-Shchedrin’s “Conscience”

“Conscience was lost all of a sudden, almost instantly!” Even yesterday this annoying prizhivalka flashed before my eyes, and seemed to be excited imagination, and all of a sudden nothing! ” Without conscience, people began to live more easily, they “hastened to take advantage of the fruits of this freedom.” Robbery and robbery began, people became frenzied. Conscience was lying on the road and “everyone threw it like an unfit rag”, wondering “how in such a comfortable city and in the most lively place such a blatant disgrace can be lying.”

One “unfortunate propoy” picked up his conscience “in the hope of getting a scale for her.” And immediately they were seized by fear and remorse: “out of the darkness of the shameful past” all the shameful acts committed by him emerged. However, it is not this unfortunate and miserable man who is to blame for his sins, there is a monstrous power that “twisted

and twisted them, twists and turns a whirlwind in the steppes by a miserable bylina.” Consciousness awoke in man, but “only one way is indicated – the exit of fruitless self-blame.” The drunkard decided to get rid of his conscience and went to the liquor house, in which a certain Prohorich traded. This trader and slipped unfortunate conscience “in the rag”.

Prochorych immediately began to repent. It is a sin to solder the people! He even began to speak in front of the regulars of the tavern – about the harm of vodka. Some people invited him to take his conscience, but everyone eschewed such a gift. Prokhorych was even going to pour the wine into the ditch. There was no trade that day, they did not make a penny, but the cabaretter slept calmly, not like in the old days. My wife realized that it was impossible to trade with one’s conscience. At dawn, she stole her husband’s conscience and rushed with her into the street. The day was bazaar, there were many people in the streets. Arina Ivanovna thrust a tedious conscience into the pocket of the quarter

warder named Lovets.

A quarterly overseer is always given bribes. In the market he used to look at someone else’s good, as his own. And suddenly – he sees good, but understands that it is someone else’s. The peasants laughed at him-they were used to being robbed! The Hunter Fofan Fofanych began to call. So he left the market “without bags”. My wife was insulted, she did not give me food. Only Trapper took off his coat, as immediately transformed – “it began to seem again that there was nothing in the world, but all of it.” I decided to go to the market, repair the damage. Only I put on my coat (and my conscience is in my pocket!), I’m ashamed to rob people again. While he reached the bazaar, he already had his own purse as a burden. He began to give out money, gave everything away. Moreover, he took with him along the road “beggars apparently invisible” to feed them. He came home, told his wife to give “strange people”, he took off his coat. And he was surprised: what kind of people are wandering around the yard? To cut them, or what? The beggars were thrown into the neck, and his wife began to fumble around her husband’s pockets – did not the farthing lie around? And I found in my pocket a conscience! The smart woman decided that the financier Samuel Davydovich Brzhotsky “will beat a small matter, but survive!”. And sent conscience by mail.

Samuel Davydovich himself and his children are well versed in the ways of extracting money from anything. Even younger sons understand “how much the latter owes to the first for the taken candy-like candy”. Conscience in such a family does not need anything at all. Brzhotsky found a way out. He had long promised a certain general to make a charitable donation. To the hundreds of banknotes (actually donation) was enclosed and conscience in the envelope. All this was handed to the general.

So conscience was passed from hand to hand. Nobody needed it. And then the conscience asked the latter who was in her hands: “Find me a little Russian child, dissolve you before me, his heart is pure and bury me in it!”

“A little child grows up, and conscience grows with him, and a little child will be a big man, and there will be a great conscience in him, and then all the untruths, guile and violence will disappear, because the conscience will not be timid and will want to dispose of everything herself.”

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A Summary of Saltykov-Shchedrin’s “Conscience”