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Russian Stories Compare and Contrast

  • Date Submitted: 01/11/2013 06:31 PM
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Kyle Harris
Ms. Bartus
World Literature
17 January 2012
Russian Stories Compare and Contrast
The Russian short stories “The Bet”, “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, and “The Overcoat”, we read this year all have a similar theme. The characters in the stories were overwhelmed by greed and their selfish desires. The difference, however, was how each character handled it. Although the young lawyer in “The Bet” let his lust for money get the best of him, he came to realization of what was really important in life, other characters like Pahom in “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, and Akakiy Akakievitch in “The Overcoat” were not as lucky.
The similarity between these stories is that the main characters were overwhelmed by greed, and materialism. It caused them to end up into some unfavorable situations. In “The Bet”, a young lawyer accepted a bet from an older banker that he would spend fifteen years in solitary confinement for two million dollars. He was willing to throw away years of his life in exchange for money he could have made in those fifteen years. He let the money cloud his judgment and jumped into a situation without thinking about it first. In “The Overcoat”, Akakiy Akakievitch only cared about his job until it was time to replace his overcoat. At first, he didn’t want to do it but he slowly became more and more attached to the idea and began to do things like starve himself for the money to buy it. He was determined to do anything to get that new overcoat, which shows how materialist he was being. In “How Much Land Does a Man Need”, Pahom just , ike the other two characters became overwhelmed by his greed. Leo Tolstoy wrote “His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to he in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed” (9) He always wanted more land than he currently had. His own well-being wasn’t as important to him as getting more land was.
In all these stories all the main characters...

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