How Much Does A Man Need By Leo Tolstoy

1180 Words 5 Pages
The presence of challenging circumstances in literature, in most cases, serves the purpose of teaching the reader a lesson. Authors use these lessons to illustrate the ideas and messages they are attempting to shine light on in their works. Writers will often use the assistance of a character’s persona, as well as, a character’s response to the difficult situation that they encounter in a story in order for the lesson to be better perceived by the reader. The ideas and messages are meant to, in turn, better the reader by learning important ethic principles from the text. One critic, Philippe Radley, explains Leo Tolstoy’s tactic in his writing, “He portrayed cause and effect, in sequence.” Every action always results in either a positive or …show more content…
From taking root as a peasant, Pakhom is now living quite comfortably and luxuriously as the author states, “Of the communal land alone he had three times as much as at his former home and the land was good corn-land. He was ten times better off than he had been” (841). Pakhom, not very long ago, had practically nothing, not even a single piece of property to call his own. This transformation of what Pakhom has come to have is rather remarkable; however, instead of being grateful, Pakhom still possesses a greedy spirit and feels as if he does not have enough. When presented with the opportunity to acquire even more land from the Bashkir people for a decent price, Pakhom’s greedy spirit cannot resist and takes advantage of the opportunity, and therefore, the Bashkir chief explains to Pakhom, “As much as you can go around on your feet in a day is yours, and the price is one thousand rubles a day” (844). Pakhom wants to gain as much land as he so desires when taking on this task. Unfortunately, there will never be enough land in the world that will ever satisfy Pakhom’s greedy desire, but in his ignorance, Pakhom still attempts to complete this task with unreachable expectations. Because of Pakhom’s obscene materialistic obsession, he desperately pushes his body farther than what he can physically endure to collect as much land as possible, …show more content…
Ivan Markovitch informs Sasha Uskov, “We have decided to pay the sum…” (857). After Sasha Uskov had cashed in a fake IOU document at a bank, he has put himself, as well as, his family into a difficult situation. The Uskov family is honorable and bringing Sasha’s crime publicly before a court will ruin the Uskov family name. In order to preserve their family name, Sasha does not receive any legal punishment or do time for his wrongdoing, but instead his uncles pay the debt for him. John W. Fiero, a critic, describes the author, “Chekhov also learned the value of symbols as guides to inner character.” Money is Sasha’s symbol in this short story. It is the subtle factor that defines and drives him as a character. After having just received news that his uncles have paid his debt for him, Sasha pleads to his uncle, “Uncle, I entreat you, give me a hundred rubles” (857). It is evident that Sasha’s actions have not changed. This lack of change is due to the fact that Sasha did not have to endure the punishment of his previous actions, and therefore, he does not fully understand the issue at hand. Taking responsibility for one’s actions, which Sasha did not do, and properly receiving a punishment, allows for one to become aware of his/her error and then, fix

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