Summary Of Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls

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An Examination of the Russian Upper Class Through the Lens of Gogol’s Dead Souls

Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls is a satirical criticism of the early 19th century Russian character and mentality. In the novel, the reader follows the protagonist, Chichikov, who is attempting to purchase “dead souls” in order to achieve his dream of owning his own estate. However, the focus of the novel is not on the plot, which does not really exist in the traditional sense of a novel, but rather on Gogol’s depiction of Russian life and people through a highly comical lens. Chichikov attempts to purchase “dead souls” from various landowners, all of whom highlight various negative characteristics of the Russian gentry. By following Chichikov, who is not exactly a respectable character, the reader is exposed to the lives and
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For example, when entering Manilov’s estate he says to Manilov “Kindly do not worry about so for my sake, I will go in after” (Gogol 24). Yet Chichikov’s artificial nature becomes more evident in his interaction with Korobochka, the second landowner, when he is attempting to persuade her to sell her dead souls to him. As he faces difficulty in succeeding, his frustration starts to become apparent, as he mutters to himself “Bah, what a blockhead… Go, try getting along with her! I 'm all in a sweat, the damned hag!" (Gogol 50). When the situation does not fall into Chichikov’s favor, his demeanor starts to crack a little, however, he still manages to keep his intentions fully hidden, and maintain some level of civility, referring to her as “dearie” rather than the “damned hag” he believes her to
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