The double breasted coat symbolism in the overcoat

Brief Story


In the short story “The Great coat, ” Nikolai Gogol has unfolded tragedies as well as satirical jokes by imagining a wide range of roles an overcoat can fulfill during an oppressive, bureaucratic, and intensely materialistic society. Without loss of humor, he has shown his reader different perceptions of an overcoat being a simple requirement for reasonable life, a subject beyond love, a tenuous tie between a man wonderful “brother” (Gogol, 29), and perhaps worst of, a cause intended for the trend of ghosts. Along all those playful exaggerations, however , Gogol also converts the double breasted coat into a motif that communicates his critical concerns for the well-being of humankind, and eventually these kinds of concerns as well distinguish themselves from almost all comedies within his experience.

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To put the tragic tone from the story, Gogol appears to his reader because an omniscient and private third person narrator whom observes the parallels among Akaky Akakievich, an destitute clerk, great worn-out double breasted coat, which often signifies the image of himself within just society. The narrator sees Akaky’s great coat is mocked by other folks as it is turning into “threadbare” (Gogol, 5), and to prevent that from disintegrating, Akaky must use their collar to patch all other damages upon it. In “The Overcoat”, such a strange, completely “zero-sum” method of tailoring, besides explaining the variegated look and the reduced collar in Akaky’s great coat, also generally seems to reflect a pattern that is certainly typical inside Akaky’s destitute life. Indeed, as the hemorrhoidal appearance of Akaky’s face will remind the narrator of Akaky’s birth within a humble relatives, his low rank, fantastic old age, the narrator exclaims “No support for it! ” (Gogol, 1) not simply away of his sympathy intended for Akaky’s physical appearance, but rather for the reason that he knows that within a society which will depends advantage upon get ranking, family influence, and perhaps as well upon good physical appearance, there is simply no means for Akaky to advance himself in his life.

Within this sort of society, Akaky’s only advantage is his neat hand writing, as the story develops, the narrator suggests that Akaky’s life has become as impossible as his broken overcoat is, specially when Akaky sees it impossible to compensate for all his inherent down sides by functioning diligently since copying clerk: as this sort of role is nearly negligible within just his world, his achievement is usually not recognized. Hence from the narrator’s view, Akaky’s hard work only appears to additional degrade his life, and therefore it is no better than patching an double breasted coat with its training collar. Moreover, simply by revealing Akaky’s reluctance to modify a document from third person into a letter in first person, the narrator has additionally attested towards the belittling result that Akaky’s work provides produced upon him. The narrator characterizes Akaky’s passion with his replicating work as his desperate vacation resort for steering clear of any other misfortunes in his life. From this point, the narrator gets to the taciturn conclusion that Akaky is so oppressed by simply society that he even lacks the courage to share his personal story or to write down anything that would look like it, and as most people surrounding Akaky will be ignorant of his reducing existence, the narrator likewise questions if individuals who share Akaky’s battling will ever always be known by way of a fellow human beings if he did not trouble to include some of them in his tale.

However, what is strange of Gogol’s narration comes up not only from the mockeries of the old overcoat, but as well from its matter-of fact sounding description and its particular facetious dramatizations of Akaky’s new great coat. Gogol offers devoted most of his history to emphasize a fresh overcoat’s practical appeal for Akaky. Throughout the narrator’s cool, merciless tone, Gogol states the indisputable fact that Akaky has to have a new double breasted coat in order to survive the harsh winter and to guard himself from the scornful feedback of his co-workers. Gogol describes how Akaky’s frequent visit to the tailor Petrovich and his consistent endurance of months of hardship, which has a clear eye-sight of an greatest goal in his mind, have afforded him the luxury of a new overcoat. To give the story a more reasonable feel, Gogol even depicts every bit of details of the modern overcoat, such as its material, its glossy, attractive consistency, and its strong quality, as if all aspects of the new double breasted coat have been thoroughly examined from Akaky’s point of view within the fr�quentation.

What Gogol is concerned about, however , is certainly more than reality: after venturing into Akaky’s earthly life, this individual immediately produces a sharp distinction between Akaky’s physical and spiritual globe by turning the materialistic image of an ordinary overcoat in to something far more edifying within the story. For instance , in a quite oxymoronic perception, Gogol shows Akaky’s project for attaining a new great coat as some efforts through which he “was nourished spiritually” (Gogol, 10), which usually only seems to indicate how purposeless his life could otherwise become without the ordeal of a new overcoat. To increase exaggerate such unusual relevance of an great coat, Gogol as well mentions Akaky’s cheering co-workers, who have all of a sudden become amiable towards Akaky, begin to compliment Akaky intended for his new overcoat and are also even happy to throw a party for it, as if they are captivated by several magical electric power and have most mistaken the overcoat because Akaky’s a wedding ring. Apparently, by stretching the role of your overcoat much beyond precisely what is usual in Akaky’s existence, or rather, by simply endowing it with the ability to execute all kinds of miracles, Gogol features told a rather absurd tale, but with all those absurdities while intentional contradictions to reality, Gogol also exemplifies the limitations of materialism without being didactic to his reader.

Towards the end of the account, as Akaky’s new overcoat vanishes together with his “brotherly” relationship between his co-workers, Akaky is once again plunged in to his deep abyss of misery. Gogol shows that Akaky’s abundance in material prosperity has in reality neither really dissolved his isolation from all other humans, neither has it enriched him spiritually or obtained him any happiness other than satisfying his most basic individual needs. Hence as an overcoat within just Gogol’s account, perhaps somewhat mystical, actually is nothing more than a great overcoat, someone can also clearly sense that even if Akaky’s new overcoat were hardly ever robbed aside, he would even now end up with a tragic, unfulfilling life — if an double breasted coat was almost all Akaky experienced asked for, or regrettably, whether it were the most valuable gift idea the world could offer him.

Besides recounting Akaky’s particular grievance, Gogol also adds to his history a rather phantastical ending by simply reporting thefts of a number of other overcoats, all of these further resonating with his displeasure against a corrupt, oppressive society, despite the fact that all those happenings are insignificant compared to Akaky’s immense wrong doings throughout his life. Near the conclusion of the story, Akaky is single-mindedly focused after searching for his new great coat, and he does not detect his other losses whatsoever until he meets the “important person” (Gogol, 16), someone who would rather entertain his friend out of boredom rather than ability to hear Akaky’s problems. Although this can be seen as a critique for useless bureaucracy, within the context with the story, it also reminds the reader that while Akaky needs a respectable overcoat to fulfill the “important person, inch he does not even have a friend who can give him one. Had Akaky not met the “important person, ” he would never realize how much his obsession with materialistic existence has in opposition him far from society. Through such a scenario, Gogol illustrates how excessive materialism not only triggers isolations and indignity between humans, yet also ends in blindness toward its problems to mankind. Furthermore, while Gogol depicts how “the important person” at the end features merely dropped his overcoat, and as a result, offers saved his own integrity and his relatives by returning home, this individual also seems to insinuate that no matter how a large number of overcoats a ghost Akaky can take advantage of, those outdoor jackets will never be sufficient to repay for what Akaky offers lost in his life. Finally, as Gogol arrives at the chance that all human beings and spirits in his account, despite the antagonisms among themselves, are actually subjects of the Czarist regime, this individual also asks his reader to judge if Akaky and other ghosts, regardless of “dead or alive” (Gogol, 20), needs to be punished “in the most difficult manner, for example to others” (Gogol, 20).

By skillfully using overcoat as being a motif in the story, Gogol has asked many significant questions about humanity. Since Gogol explains how depressed and unattainable Akaky is becoming more and more preoccupied with his double breasted coat and eventually collapses, he frowns upon Akaky’s futile lifestyle, but at the same time he as well questions just how one could get away the viscous cycle of spiritual low income and extreme materialism, every single appearing to be simultaneously the main cause and the effect of the different. With ghosting Akaky’s rage towards other folks, especially on the “important person, ” Gogol is perhaps indicating that individuals should be in charge of helping one another to avoid this sort of repulsive style of life, that is, figuratively speaking, they have to avoid struggling by using their very own long managed spoons to feed the other person instead of simply trying to gratify their own requires. Gogol’s history, however , also implies that rewarding this responsibility is not easy when many individuals like Akaky are totally separated from contemporary society. In addition , by mentioning the ruthless manner that the Czarist regime tries to reprimand even the ghosts, who are likely absent, Gogol also blames the routine for its severe oppression against humanity and questions whether humans should also be responsible for resisting such oppression, if we were holding to be held accountable for their personal well-being. It is hard to imagine how Gogol could ask those severe questions and criticize the bureaucratic and overly materialistic influences of society without utilizing his good laughter to soften the intimidating tones of his story. Gogol’s laughter has undoubtedly saved his work from doctrinarism, insignificant objections, and possibly even censorships, or in Gogol’s the majority of general term, one could also say that is it doesn’t power of laughter that has allowed Gogol “to avoid virtually any unpleasantness” (Gogol, 1) in “The Overcoat”.

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