Love for an ordinary person, pain for him, many works of Russian writers are imbued. One of the first who put forward the theme of “little man” in literature was AS Pushkin. In “Belkin’s Tales” the writer stops attention on the fate of the “little man”, whom he tried to paint objectively, without idealization. Alexander Pushkin’s traditions were continued and developed by NV Gogol, FM Dostoyevsky, and AP Chekhov.
In NV Gogol’s novel The Overcoat, the idea of a compassionate, humane attitude toward the “little man” is expressed directly.
Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin – “eternal titular adviser”. The senseless clerical office killed in him every living thought. The only pleasure he found in the rewriting of papers. He lovingly printed out letters in an even hand and completely immersed himself in the work, forgetting both the grievances inflicted on him by his colleagues, and poverty, and cares for the daily bread. Even at home he thought only of the fact that “something God will send tomorrow to rewrite.”
But in this clumsy official woke up a man when the posed life problem appeared – a new overcoat. “He, moreover, became somehow livelier, more solid than his character, and doubt and indecision disappeared from his face and from his actions.” Bashmachkin does not part with his dream for a single day. He thinks about it, like another person
Introducing us into the kind hearted world of the hero, describing his feelings, thoughts, dreams, joys and sorrows, the author makes it clear how happy it was for Bash-mackin to buy a greatcoat and what catastrophe her loss is turning into.
There was no happier man than Akaky Akakievich, when the tailor brought him an overcoat. But his joy was short. When he returned home at night, he was robbed. And none of the surrounding people takes part in the fate of the unfortunate official. In vain, Bashmachkin sought help from a “significant person.” More than that, he was accused of revolting against the chiefs and “higher”. Upset Akaki Akakievich falls ill and dies.
In the finale, the “little” timid man, driven by a world of strengths to despair, protests against this world. When he dies, he “fouls”, pronounces the most terrible words that followed the words “Your Excellency”. It was a rebellion, although in a dying delirium.
Criminal indifference shows the higher Petersburg society to Captain Kopeikin (“Dead Souls”). It turned out to be stale, callous not just to a small man, but to the defender of the Motherland, the hero of the war of 1812, an invalid who had lost all means of livelihood. No wonder the further fate of Captain Kopeikin is associated with a riot, a warning that the patience of the downtrodden and humiliated will ever end, that there is a limit to everything. And if the broad Russian human essence rebelled, it is a sadness for those who oppressed and offended the poor man.
The spirit of Gogol’s “Overcoat” penetrated the novel of F. Dostoyevsky “Poor people.” This is a story about the fate of the same “little man”, crushed by grief, despair and social deprivation. The correspondence of the poor official Makar Devushkin with Varenka, who lost her parents and is pursued by the pugilism, reveals the dramatic drama of the life of these people. Makar and Varenka are ready for the friend of a friend for any privations. Makar, living in extreme need, helps her. And Varya, learning about Makar’s situation, comes to his aid. But the heroes of the novel are defenseless. Their rebellion is a “mutiny on their knees.” No one can help them. Varya is taken to certain death, and Makar is left alone with his grief. The life of two beautiful people is broken up, crippled, brutal reality.
It is interesting to note that Makar Devushkin reads Pushkin’s “Stationmaster” and Gogol’s “Overcoat.” He sympathizes with Samson Vyrin and is hostile to Bashmachkin. Probably because he sees his future in it.
So, Dostoevsky, on the one hand, shows the “humiliated and offended” person, and the writer’s heart is filled with love and pity for this man, and on the other hand, he speaks for humility, obedience, calling: “Humble, arrogant man!”
The victim of dysfunctional social conditions is Marmeladov, the hero of the novel “Crime and Punishment”. This drunk old retired official says to Raskolnikov: “In poverty, you still retain your nobility of innate feelings, in poverty there is never anybody.” Marmeladov explains his idea: “Poverty is not a vice, poverty is a vice” – for poverty does not distort the feeling of human dignity in the poorest; the beggar ceases to be a man, ceases to respect himself, humiliates himself, reaching the last degree of moral decline.
Further, in the development of the image of the “little man,” there is a tendency for a “split”. On the one hand, from among the “little people” there are raznochinets-democrats, and their children become revolutionaries. On the other hand, the “little man” descends, turning into a limited petty bourgeois. Most clearly we observe the same process in the stories of Anton Chekhov, “Ionich”, “Gooseberries”, “Man in a case”.
Teacher Belikov – a man not angry in nature, but timid and withdrawn. In the conditions when the formula “Life not forbidden circularly, but not completely resolved”, it becomes a terrible figure in the city.
All the living, progressive scarecrow of Belikov, in all he saw “an element of doubt”. Belikov could not arrange his private life either. When he saw his bride riding a bicycle, he was very surprised. Belikov went to explain to his brother Varenka, believing that the lady could not afford such liberties. But the result of the conversation was very sad – the teacher of the Greek died. With joy buried the townspeople Belikov, but even after his death, the seal of “Belikovism” remained on the inhabitants of the city. Belikov continued to exist in their minds, he permeated the fear of their souls.
In the course of time, the “little man”, deprived of his own dignity, “humiliated and offended,” causes writers not only compassion, but also condemnation. “You are bored, gentlemen,” AP Chekhov said to his work “a little man” who resigned himself to his position. With a delicate sense of humor ridicules the writer’s death Ivan Chervyakov, from the mouth of which his whole life does not descend lackey “Your-stvo.” In the same year as “The Death of an Official,” the story “Thick and Thin” appears. Chekhov again opposes the philistines, against servility. Giggles, “like a Chinaman”, bowing in obsequious bow, the collegiate officekeeper Porfiry, meeting his former friend who has a great rank. I forgot the feeling of friendship that connected these two people.
In all works where images of “little people” were created, writers usually emphasized their weak protest, cramming, which then leads the “little man” to degradation. But each of these heroes has something in life that helps them to bear the burden of their situation: Samson Vyrin is the daughter, the joy of his life, Akaky Akakievich has an overcoat, Makar Devushkin and Varenka have their mutual love and care. friend. In one of the letters to his sister AP Chekhov exclaimed: “My God, how rich Russia is by good people!” The sharp eye of the artist, noting the vulgarity, saw another – the beauty of the “little man”.