The first of the Russian writers who touched upon the theme of the “little man” was Pushkin. His story “The Stationmaster” is devoted to the modest existence of station supervisor Samson Vyrin. The story became the first of a number of works of Russian literature devoted to this topic.
In the poem “The Bronze Horseman” Pushkin also touched upon the problem of the “little man”, but in a slightly different perspective. The hero of the poem, Eugene, is an ordinary resident of the great city. But this greatness is only one side of the coin. Pushkin himself spoke of Petersburg – “the city is magnificent, the city is poor”. How much the city itself is magnificent, just as unhappy people can be in it. Eugene, whose only desire,
The theme of the “little man” continued NV Gogol in his “Petersburg stories”. Especially remarkable in this sense is the story “Overcoat”. Her hero is a poor and modest official Akaki Akikievich Bashmachkin. Even his ridiculous name speaks of the insignificant position of an official. Indeed, he has worked in the same place for many years, but he is not promoted to office. Yes, he himself does not strive for this. He is quite satisfied with his existence. The only thing that overshadows him is the constant mockery of other officials. They are used to perceive Akaky Akakievich as an object for ridicule, and he does not seek to put himself in a different way. Yes, it’s too late: he’s over fifty. It is significant that a “significant person” calls him “a young man”. Bashmachkin did not become more respectable, more representative,
At first, “Overcoat”
Both Pushkin and Gogol showed the life of “little people” from the outside. Yes, they sympathize and empathize with their inconspicuous heroes, but still look down on them a little. Dostoevsky in this respect went further than them, since in the novel “Poor People” he showed the feelings and experiences of the “little man” in the first person. Makar Devushkin is very similar to Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin. He is just as poor, is in the same rank, has the same ridiculous, pitying, name. He, in fact, resembles a timid girl by her actions and outlook on life.
However, in one Makar Devushkin significantly differs from Samson Vyrin, and from Akaky Akakievich. It has a kind of pride, something called “the pride of the poor.” It makes him hide his poverty. He hardly makes ends meet, but helps people poorer than himself: his neighbors, beggars on the street, which speaks of his spiritual generosity. Where does this pride come from, this nobility, this charity? Why such power of love and respect for Varinka Dobroselova? Makara Girls on can rightly be called a “great little man.” Unfortunately, all those beautiful character traits that he possesses are shaded, lost for his innate modesty, meekness. And he, too, does not regret life: his beloved, priceless Varya is taken away by the depraved landowner Bykov. The only way that Makar can protest, are his letters full of unbearable suffering. With actions, actions, he will never resist. This is the trouble of all the “little people”: they obediently demolish all the hardships that fall to their lot, and this resignation causes more unhappiness. Vicious circle.
Dostoevsky, probably, more often than all Russian writers addressed to a theme of “the small person”. Suffice it to recall at least the novel “Crime and Punishment”. “Little People” – Marmeladov and his family – suffer from poverty, hunger and humiliation, and can do nothing with their situation. Whichever decision they take, it leads to disgrace, poverty or death. But such “little people” with their desires, passions, joys and troubles in Russia are many and still. All the writers who touched on this theme-Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Karamzin, Chekhov-sympathized with their heroes. But how could they change their situation? Alas, the problem of a “little man”, humiliated by people and life itself, probably will exist as long as Russia exists.