Words of Wisdom:

"When all else fails, bring in the duct tape." - Ycclarleafflo


  • Date Submitted: 05/08/2014 05:36 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.9 
  • Words: 283
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Although both "The Bet" and Leo Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need" deal with the effects of greed, there are many differences between the two stories. Things that need to be looked at are form, theme, character development, and the use of such literary devices are irony, foreshadowing, and flashbacks. In "The Bet" the banker's personality is revealed though his thoughts, comments, and actions, and through the narrator's observations about him.. For example, early in the story, the narrator offers and insight into the banker's personality at the time of the party, commenting that the banker "was younger and more excitable in those days".

Critics generally classify "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" as a parable, a special type of allegory that focuses entirely on one or two characters and deals with specific circumstances that motivate their actions. Certain motifs recur through the literary works of different cultures and eras. The idea of a character either making a pact with the Devil or being controlled by the Devil is one such motif. In addition to Tolstoy's story, the topic is explored in such works as Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Goethe's Faust.

Some people think that quick decisions are the worst decisions of all while others like to act on their first impulses (the Banker). Like the farmer in Tolstoy's story, you have to ask yourself why people sometimes become obsessed with obtaining material objects. Do you think this type of obsession can affect the way that a person treats other people? Why do you think that people sometimes do not feel satisfied when they obtain something they have longed for? (Both the lawyer and the farmer go through this).


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