The Overcoat Essay

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In the following excerpt, Peace offers an interpretation of Gogol's "The Greatcoat" ("The Overcoat"), particularly in regard to Gogol's narrative technique, verbal devices, and use of humor.

"The Greatcoat" is the story of an impoverished civil service clerk, in St. Petersburg, who by dint of great sacrifices manages to buy himself a new coat, but is robbed of it the very first evening he wears it. He tries to get it back by going to see a highlyplaced official who gives him such a reprimand that the poor clerk falls ill and dies. Later his ghost haunts St Petersburg, stealing coats; it is only laid to rest when it has taken the greatcoat of the highlyplaced official himself.

The story is often regarded as having initiated a whole tradition of Russian realism. 'We have all come out of Gogol's greatcoat' is a remark allegedly uttered by Dostoevsky...

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This section contains 3,538 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Overcoat Study Guide
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