Materialism And Classism In Nikolai Gogol's 'The Overcoat'

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Nikolai Gogol 's “The Overcoat” is the story of Akaky Akakeivich a middle-aged man unremarkable and outwardly pathetic working as a titular councillor and copying clerk in the old Russian civil services. Akaky has very little and is cruelly picked on by his coworkers yet often times he displays no discontentment with his plight whatsoever. His mundane life however is thrown into disarray upon discovering that he must buy a new overcoat at a great expense for which he is unprepared. Though he is initially distraught by the need for the new overcoat, he finds a higher purpose in the quest for the new overcoat. The thought of the new overcoat soon becomes a deep comfort to him, and the day he receives the coat seems to be the happiest of his life. However, an unforeseen turn of events leads to the sudden loss of his coat, and shortly thereafter, of his own life. Following his death, Akaky returns as a ghost to haunt St. Petersburg for a time, stealing coats, and in particular that of a general who had refused to help him previously. Whilst this story emulates multiple aspects of society, many of which can be seen even in today 's modern world, it most accurately portrays the corruption which stems from the class systems and that of materialism. It should be stated that one can easily argue that social status, and materialism are two separate topics and when addressed on their own they are as such. However when they are portrayed together as accurately as they are in “The
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