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Dead Souls By Nikoli Gogol Essay

1155 words - 5 pages

Dead Souls Book Study
Dead Souls Is a classic novel by Nikolai Gogol, and is considered an exemplar of 19th century Russian literature. Russian literature in the 19th century provided insight on the flaws and faults of the Russian people during that time, and Gogol masterfully portrayed these defects though his characters. The story focuses on the historical setting, being written after the french invasion of Russia and the thoughts of the war still fresh in the minds of the citizens. also this was a time where indentured service, called serfs, were prominent in Russia. The book also touches on the political setting, where the people with the most serfs are the most powerful in the nation. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol is a book that really helps one understand what Russia was like in the 19th century, by letting people know about the historical setting and the politics of the era as well.
The era in Russia is perfectly depicted in Dead Souls. The reason why the book is called Dead Souls is Interesting, and also tell about how people though in Russia in the 19th century. Dead Souls is talking about the serfs, who souls are considered owned by their master, and the master has to pay taxes on the serf. However, the Russian authorities do censeces very infrequently, so the serfs who die are considered “Dead souls” because there master still has to pay taxes on them because a new census was not completed, so they are still considered alive by the Russian authorities. The plot involves the main character going around buying these “Dead Souls” in order to appear rich and thus get richer by doing this. This title, however unimportant it sounds, gives background on what Russia was really like in the 19th century. There is clear separation of power, with the serfs being like slaves and their master being part of the upper class. also, it tell you how they treated their servants, they thought of them as having their souls belonging to them, but not as their property. Knowing the difference as the masters thinking of them as a person with a soul instead of property gives you insight on how they treated their servants with more respect. Gogel states in Dead Souls “ Surf youth has a future. The closer he came to graduation, the more his heart beat. This is still not life, this is only the preparation for life”(Gogel 245) Serfs had the chance to buy their freedom, and thats what Gogel ment by graduation. The youth could buy their freedom, and the skills that they have learned will be invaluable to them. The title of Dead souls give away that much background of the time by having “Soul” which means human instead of “property” which is something else entirely. The main character also represents Russia at the time being greedy and, even though he is foolish and stupid, but Gogel explicitly states “However stupid a fools words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.” (Gogel 341) This shows that in early 19th century Russia, stupid man...

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