The Overcoat Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 61 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Overcoat.
This section contains 635 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Overcoat Study Guide

The Human Condition

The universal human need for compassion is a central theme in "The Overcoat." Akaky Akakievich and others in the story deny their connection to the rest of humanity, but ultimately fail. This view of the human condition is embodied in the early passage in which the narrator describes the lack of compassion with which Akaky is treated by his coworkers: in one of Akaky's rare pleas to be left alone by his tormentors, a newer office mate unexpectedly hears, "I am your brother." The overcoat becomes a symbol for both a basic human need that unites us as well as our tragic tendency to deny that need. The coat is stolen by men supposedly mistaken for Akaky's friends. His efforts to retrieve the coat are thwarted by the hierarchical bureaucracy that encourages people to deny their common bonds and to treat one another without compassion. The...

(read more)

This section contains 635 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Overcoat Study Guide
Copyrights
Gale
The Overcoat from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook