The story “Overcoat” was first published in 1843. She talks about the life of a “little man” in society. He is indifferent to everyone, but he genuinely loves his small post. Only one circumstance pulls him out of the habitual way of life: buying a new overcoat.
According to Belinsky, the story “The Overcoat” became “one of the deepest achievements of Gogol”, in it the social and moral motive of the writer’s earlier works was widely developed.
For a detailed acquaintance with the essence of the work, we suggest reading below our version of the brief content of Gogol’s Overcoat.
Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin is a modest, quiet, inconspicuous titular adviser, over 50 years old, of short stature, a little bit blind, with a bald spot on his forehead and wrinkles on his cheeks. He is not married and has no friends. She sincerely loves her work.
– a former serf Gregory, a crooked one-eyed, pock-marked, likes to drink, is faithful to his grandfather’s customs. He is married. About his wife, nothing is known.
“Significant person” is a newly promoted “minor person” who behaves pompously, “trying to give himself even greater significance.”
Akaki Akakievich Bashmachkin was not lucky since birth: even “it was impossible to pick the name of another”, born on the night of March 23, the calendar offered strange names of Sossia or Khozdat. The baby’s mother turned the page of the calendar, hoping to find a good name, but here the choice fell between Pawsikahiy and Vakhtisiy. The child was named in honor of his father – Akaky Akakievich, after baptism he grimaced as if he had foreseen that there would be a titular councilor.
There was a hero on a rented apartment in a poor area of St. Petersburg. He worked in one of the departments, on duty, copying documents. The post is so small and poorly paid that in the department even the watchmen treat him with disdain,
and the officials silently put their papers on correspondence, often without authorization. Above Akaky Akakievich chuckles, come up. Akaki Akakievich does not pay attention to them, only when officials push him to the elbow, then he asks: “Leave me, why do you insult me?”.
Bashmachkin sincerely loves his work. She works longer on individual letters, pulling out every scrap of paper, winking at them, smiling. He often takes a job at a house where he eats fast soup, and sits down to rewrite something. If there is no such need, he still rewrites something, just for his pleasure, even getting into bed, he is happy to think about tomorrow’s work. Only once the director instructed him to deal more importantly – to correct the document himself, to change the title letters and some verbs, but Akaky Akakievich was not capable of this, was sweating strongly, and asked him to “rewrite something.” He was no longer asked to correct anything.
In short, he leads a quiet, measured life, has no friends and family. He does not care what happens around. It seemed that only “a horse that laid its muzzle on his shoulder could return it to the reality of St. Petersburg’s street from the middle of some line”. He wears a worn out uniform and such a leaky overcoat that in the department it is called a hood. If it were not for the frost, this “little man” would not notice the flaws in his overcoat. But he had to carry her in repair to the crooked-eyed tailor Petrovich. In the past – a serf, Grigory, who knew how to “drink solidly,” and “successfully repair the official trousers and tailcoats.”
Tailor assures that you can not repair an overcoat, and a new one costs 150 rubles. This is a very large amount, which Bashmachkin does not have, but he knows that Petrovich becomes more compliant when he drinks, and decides to come to the tailor once again at the “right moment.” As a result, the overcoat costs him 80 rubles, you can save on a cheap collar from a cat. About 40 rubles he has already accumulated, thanks to the habit of saving a penny from every salary. The rest of the money needs to be saved: in the evenings Akaky Akakievich refuses tea and candles, lessens laundry, at home wears a robe over his naked body, “in order not to wear clothes,” he tries to step on the street so carefully that he “does not want to scratch prematurely.” Bashmachkin is difficult, but the dream of a new overcoat inspires him, he often goes to Petrovich to discuss the details.
Finally, he accumulated the right amount and Gregory sewed a new overcoat, the lucky Akaky Akakievich went to her service. The most grandiose event in the miserable life of the titular adviser does not go unnoticed: his colleagues and superiors surround him, they demand an evening on the occasion of new things. Bashmachkin is very embarrassed, he gave all his savings to a new overcoat, but he is rescued by a certain official who invites everyone, including Akaky Akakievich, to himself, on the occasion of the name-day. The official’s house is in another part of the city. After dinner at home, the hero goes there on foot.
The officials, who yesterday teased Akaky Akakievich, are showered with compliments, in a new overcoat he looks much more solid. Soon they forget about him, go to dance and champagne. For the first time in his life Akaky Akakievich allows himself to relax, but he does not stay long, and leaves supper before others. Flushed with champagne, he even follows a lady with a good figure. But on the deserted square unknown people with a mustache catch up with him, one of them says that the overcoat on Akaky Akakiyevich’s shoulders belongs to him, pushes him into the snow, and takes it away.
The private bailiff instead of help, confused Akaky Akakiyevich with the final questions about why he was so late in the street, and whether he attended any obscene house, he left, and did not understand if the case would be given a move. He is again forced to come to the department in an old, tattered overcoat, and again they make fun of him, although there are those who feel sorry for him, and advises him to go to a “significant person who can contribute to a more successful search for a greatcoat.” Unfortunate Akaky Akakievich, is forced to endure the undeserved reprimand of this “significant person”, which “has become significant only recently, and therefore anxious, as if to attach greater importance to it.” So without getting help, he, frozen in an old hood, returns to his home in a violent fever.
In the service of him, they remembered only on the fourth day after his funeral.
On this story about the life of the “little man” ends. But the story continues, describing the ensuing strange events after the funeral of the titular councilor. It was said that at night near the Kalinkin Bridge the deceased is shown, who from all stripes his greatcoat, not distinguishing their owners by rank and rank. The police were powerless. One evening, late in the evening, the former titular counselor tore off his overcoat and from that very “significant person.” Since then, the “significant person” has behaved much more modestly with his subordinates.
Since then Akaky Akakyevych’s reign has never been seen, but another ghost has come to replace him – of greater size and with a mustache.
The image of the “little man” was raised in literature long before, but NV Gogol, unlike other writers, saw in his character is not an object of ridicule, but a man worthy of sympathy and understanding.
“Overcoat” is a protest against public order, where the conclusion about a person is made “in advance”, based on his position, salary and appearance. Even the tale is named not in honor of the hero, indifferent to society, and destroyed by him, because this material brings the material values to the fore.
The story takes only 30 pages, so after reading this brief retelling of Gogol’s “Overcoat”, we advise you to familiarize yourself with its full version.