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The Strength Of Envy And Greed

1103 words - 5 pages

Russian realistic literature thrived in the second half of the nineteenth century under the political and social problems that shadowed the country. In the early nineteenth century, Czars had unconditional power and paid no attention to the needs of the people, especially the serfs who were defined and treated as slaves. Revolts began to spread, however, and the serfs were eventually emancipated in 1861. This reform gave the Serfs equal rights and opportunities as free citizens, including the right to marry and own property. With exception to house serfs, all others received a small plot of land from the government. Most were unable to pay the unfair taxes that they were subject to and most ...view middle of the document...

Not only does he agree to the outrageous proposal but he also he increases the steaks to fifteen years. So, maybe he is not irrational. It is more reasonable to conclude that he is insane. In his letter to the banker at the end of his sentence he wrote, "I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth. I don't want to understand you." It sounds like he might have gone crazy. Rejecting the true value of money is understandable and something that I completely agree with. But the rejection of humanity is too extreme and it is likely that fifteen years of solitary confinement could have affected him physiologically. In “How Much Land Does A Man Really Need?”, Pahom is unlike the banker and the lawyer of the previous story. He is a peasant farmer with little to his name. He does, however, wish to become wealthy like the characters in “The Bet.” In the beginning of the story he says that if he owned enough land, he would not fear the devil himself. He eventually borrows enough money to buy his own land. Even though he is living the life he has wanted for so long, he continues to desire more land. He continues to buy more and more land until this desire causes his death.
At the end of “How much land does a man really need?” Pahom is given the opportunity to pay a thousand rubles for whatever land he can walk around in a day. Motivated by his greed he walks more than his body is capable of enduring and eventually collapses and dies. Of course, in the end he gets six feet of land on which to be buried. This example of irony is a strong sample of evidence to support the theme of the story: All must learn to be content with what they have without getting too grasping and selfish. The lawyer had a much different outcome than Pahom. In the beginning the banker and the lawyer believed that money was everything. The banker many have won the bet but he really lost because he is still as irrational and young as he was fifteen years...

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