Diary of a superfluous man The
idea to start a diary came to Chelkatourine on March 20. The doctor admitted finally that he had to live for two weeks. Soon the rivers will burst. Together with the last snow they will take away his life.
Who can tell his gloomy thoughts at the last hour? Only the old and the near Terentyevna are nearby. It is necessary to tell at least your own life, try to understand why you lived for thirty years.
Parents Chelkaturin were quite wealthy landlords. But the father, a passionate player, quickly descended everything, and they had only a village of Sheep’s Water, where their son was now dying of consumption in a miserable house.
The mother was a lady with a character and an overwhelming proud virtue. She endured the family misfortune stoically, but in her humility there was some kind of deliberateness and reproach to those around her. The boy shunned her, passionately loved his father, grew up “badly
and unhappily.” Children’s years are almost left no bright memories.
Moscow, which moved after his father’s death, did not add to the impression. A parental home, a university, the life of a petty official, few acquaintances, “clean poverty, humble pursuits, moderate desires.” Is it worth telling such a life? Life is completely superfluous in the world man. Chelcaturin himself likes this word. No other conveys so completely the essence of it.
The best accuracy of the chosen definition of self and destiny could confirm one episode of his life. Somehow he had to spend six months in the county town of O. where he got along with one of the chief officials of the county, Kirill Matveyevich Ozhogin, who had a shower of four hundred and hosted the best society in the city. He was married, and he had a daughter, Elizaveta Kirillovna, very good-looking, lively and meek. In it, and fell in love with a young man, in fact with women very awkward, but here somehow found and “blossomed soul.” For three weeks he was happy with his love, the opportunity to be in a house where the
warmth of a normal family relationship was felt.
Lisa was not in love with her admirer, but accepted his company. One day, Lisa’s mother, a petty official of Bezmenkov, Lisa herself and Chelkaturin, went to a grove outside the city. Young people enjoyed a quiet evening, opening with a cliff of dawns and a crimson sunset. The closeness of the man in love with her, the beauty of the surroundings, the feeling of fullness of being awakened in a seventeen-year-old girl “a quiet ferment that precedes the transformation of a child into a woman.” And Chelkaturin witnessed this change. Standing over the precipice, struck and deeply moved by the beauty that she revealed, she suddenly burst into tears, then was long embarrassed and mostly silent. In it, a turning point occurred, “she also began to wait for something.” The young man in love took this change to his account: “The misfortune of people alone and timid – from the self-esteem of timid ones –
Meanwhile in the city, and then at the Ozhogins appeared a slender, high military man – Prince N. He came from Petersburg to accept recruits. Chelkaturin felt a hostile feeling of a timid, dark Muscovite to a brilliant capital officer, a good self, clever and self-confident.
Unconscious dislike turned into anxiety, and then into despair, when, left alone in the hall of the house of Ozhogin, the young man looked at his nose in the mirror, and suddenly saw in the glass how Liza had quietly entered, but when she saw her adore she gently slipped out away. She obviously did not want to meet him.
Chelkaturin returned the next day to Ozhogin with the same hypothetical, strained man as he was from childhood and from which he began to get rid of under the influence of feeling. The family in the living room was in the best of spirits. Prince N. stayed with them yesterday evening. Hearing this, our hero pouted and took the form of an insult to punish Liza with his displeasure.
But then the prince appeared again, and by the blush, by the way Liza’s eyes shone, it became clear that she passionately fell in love with him. The girl still did not see anything even a bit like a brilliant, intelligent, gay aristocrat. And he fell in love with her, partly because of nothing to do, partly from the habit of circling women’s head.
With a constantly tense smile, arrogant taciturnity, behind which there was jealousy, envy, a sense of his own nothingness, powerless anger, the prince realized that he was dealing with an eliminated rival. Therefore, he was polite and soft with him.
The sense of what was happening was also clear to those around him, and Chelkaturin was spared as a patient. His behavior became more and more unnatural and tense. The prince charmed everyone and the ability not to ignore anyone, and the art of secular conversation, and playing the piano, and the talent of the draftsman.
Meanwhile, one of the summer days the district leader gave a ball. The whole county gathered. And all, alas, circled around his sun – the prince. Lisa felt like the queen of the ball and her beloved. No one paid attention to the rejected, not seen even by forty-eight-year-old girls with red pimples on Chelkaturin’s forehead. And he followed the happy couple, died of jealousy, loneliness, humiliation and exploded, calling the prince an empty St. Petersburg upstart.
The duel took place in that very grove, almost at that very precipice. Chelkaturin easily wounded the prince. He shot into the air, finally trampled into the ground of the opponent. House Ozhoginy closed for him. The prince began to look like a groom. But he soon left, and without making an offer. Lisa suffered a stoic blow. Chelkaturin was convinced of this, accidentally overhearing her conversation with Bezmenkov. Yes, she knows that everyone is throwing stones at her now, but she will not change her misfortune for their happiness. The prince did not long love her, but – he loved! And now she has memories, and her life is rich, she is happy that she was loved and loved. Chelkaturin disgusted her.
Two weeks later Lizaveta Kirillovna went out for Bezmenkov.
“Well, tell me now, am I not superfluous?” – the author of the diary asks. It’s bitter for him that he dies dumbly, stupidly. Farewell to all and forever, good-bye, Lisa!