Summary “Poor Lisa”

At the heart of the story “Poor Lisa” Karamzin – the story of the unhappy love of a peasant woman to a nobleman. The work, written and published in 1792, influenced the further development of Russian literature – here for the first time “people acted, the life of the heart and passions was depicted in the midst of ordinary everyday life.” The story became an example of sentimentalism: images of the heroes of the story and the author’s position are ambiguous, the feeling is the highest value, first of all the inner world of the common man is revealed.

The story “Poor Liza” is studied in the course of the literature of the 9th grade. In order to get acquainted with the plot and the heroes of the work, we offer to read the summary of “Poor Lisa”.

Main characters

Lisa is a peasant girl, loves Erast. Mentally rich, open, sensitive nature.

Erast is a nobleman. Good, but weak in character, unable

to think about the consequences of his actions.

Other characters

The narrator is a sentimental person, empathizes with his heroes. He loves “those things that touch the heart and make you shed tears of tender sorrow.”

Lisa’s mother – a simple peasant woman, dreams of a happy marriage to her daughter.


The narrator, on whose behalf the narrative is conducted, knows perfectly the surroundings of Moscow. The most beloved place is the mountain, where the Simonov Monastery is located. From here the view of Moscow opens amazingly beautiful.

More often than not, the author draws to the monastery thoughts about the bitter fate of “poor Lisa.”

In the neighborhood of the monastery, there is an empty shack, collapsing. About thirty years ago Lisa and her mother lived in it. After the death of his father, a well-to-do peasant, his wife and daughter lived poorly. The widow was grieved for her husband’s death, weaker with every day and could not work. Liza, who was only fifteen years old in her father’s death, “worked day

and night to spare her rare beauty.” She wove canvas, knitted, picked berries, flowers and sold all this in Moscow.

Once the heroine, as usual, came to the city – to sell lilies of the valley. On one of the streets she met a young man of pleasant appearance and invited him to buy flowers. Instead of five cents, which Lisa asked, the young man wanted to give the ruble for “lilies of the valley, ripped off by the hands of a beautiful girl”, but Lisa did not take extra money. Then he told the girl that he would always be his only buyer. The stranger asked Lisa where she lives, and the girl answered.

Arriving home, Lisa told her mother about the meeting.

The next day, collecting the best lilies of the valley, Liza went to Moscow, but she did not meet yesterday’s stranger.

In the evening, sadly sitting at the yarn, the girl suddenly saw under the window a recent friend and was very happy. The old mother told him about her grief and about the “sweet properties” of her daughter. Mother really liked Erast, and she dreamed that Lisa’s fiance was just like that. However, Lisa objected that this is impossible, because he is a “master,” and they are peasants.

Erast, a nobleman by birth, “with a fair mind and kind heart, kind from nature, but weak and windy,” only longed for entertainment. The beauty and naturalness of Lisa amazed him so much that the young man decided: he found his happiness.

Liza was restlessly asleep at night, – the image of Erast disturbed and excited the imagination. Even before sunrise, the girl went to the shore of the Moskva River and, sitting on the grass, watched the waking nature. Suddenly, the sound of the oars broke the silence of the morning, and Lisa saw Erast, floating in the boat.

A moment later the young man jumped out of the boat, ran up to Lisa, took her by the hands, kissed him and confessed his love. Delightful music responded to this confession in the soul of the girl – and Erast heard from her that he, too, was loved. The young man swore to Liza in eternal love.

Since then, every evening, Lisa and Erast met, talked about their love, kissed, “their arms are clean and unblemished.” The girl aroused admiration from Erast, and all the old secular fun seemed insignificant. He was sure that he would never be able to harm his beloved “shepherdess”.

At the request of Lisa Erast often visited her mother’s home, she always rejoiced at the arrival of a young man.

Young people’s meetings continued. Once Lisa came to her beloved in tears. It turned out that the son of a rich peasant wants to marry her, and Lisa’s mother is happy about this, because she does not know that her daughter has a “dear friend”.

Erastus said that he cherishes the happiness of his beloved, and after the death of their mother they will live together, “as in paradise.” After such words, Lisa rushed into the arms of Erast – “and at this time it was necessary to die innocence,” the characters became close.

They still met, the author says, but “how everything has changed!”. Platonic love gave way to feelings that were not new to Erast. Lisa loved “only lived and breathed.” Erast began to come less often, and one day did not appear for several days, and when he finally came on a date, he said that he had to say goodbye for a while – there is a war, he is on duty, and his regiment is on the march. On the day of parting, saying goodbye to Erastom, Liza “said goodbye to her soul.” They both cried.

The days of separation were filled with bitterness and anguish for Lisa. Almost two months passed, the girl went to Moscow for rose water for her mother. Walking along the street, she drew attention to the rich carriage and saw Erasta in it. At the gate of the house, where the carriage drove in, Lisa went to Erast and hugged him. He was cold, explained to Lisa that he was engaged, – life circumstances compel him to marry. Asked to forget about him, said that he loved Lisa and loves, wishes her well. Putting a hundred rubles into the girl’s pocket, he ordered the servant to “escort her from the yard.”

Erastus really was at war, but he did not fight, but lost his fortune in cards. To fix matters, the young man decided to marry a rich widow who had long been in love with him.

“I’m lost!” – only from this could think Lisa, walking, where eyes look, after a meeting with the beloved. She woke up, on the shore of the pond, where they often saw Erast. Memories of a happy time “shocked her soul.” Having seen his neighbor’s daughter Anyuta, the girl gave her money for her and her apologies. She herself threw herself into the water of the pond and drowned. Mother, unable to withstand the death of her beloved daughter, died. Erast, who learned about the death of Lisa, blamed herself for her death, he never found happiness in life. Shortly before Erast’s death, the narrator met him, and he told him his story.


In his work Karamzin proclaimed a timeless idea – any person, regardless of origin and position in society, is worthy of love, respect and compassion. This humanistic position of the author deserves attention in modern life.

A brief retelling of “Poor Lisa” is only the first step to getting acquainted with the story. The full text will allow us to comprehend the depth of the author’s intention and appreciate the beauty and laconism of the language of the work.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Summary “Poor Lisa”