The Overcoat Essay, Research Paper
Arthur Ashe once said, ?From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however makes a life.? Such is the case in Nikolai Gogol?s short story The Overcoat. Gogol takes a man without a friend in the world and gives him a new overcoat. The new overcoat represents a new life and a new identity for the man and instantaneously he is much happier. The man, Akaky Akakievich, basis his ?new life? upon the love that he gives to his overcoat, and what he feels it gives him in return. Before long, Akaky begins to care more about his beautiful coat and less about the people around him. Thus is the theme of the story. Often material things are more important in our lives than people, resulting in the emptiness of one?s heart and soul. One cannot be truly happy with his possessions alone. He needs more than that. He needs people his life, whom he can call friends.
Akaky Akakievich is a low class man and he works hard for his money, yet his materialistic co-workers torment him because of his shabby, worn-out overcoat. Consequently he goes out and purchases a new overcoat. Quickly people begin to respect him more as he wears the new coat, and it creates for him a new identity. Akaky no longer is the blunt of office jokes, for he is now dressed more fashionably in the eyes of his colleagues. As Akaky walks down the street, he begins to see things in a new light. From the women that pass him by, to what he sees inside the store windows. Things seem to have a new meaning in his world, all because of his new overcoat. Akaky cares so much about his coat because it cost him quite a lot of money, but more importantly it made him feel more confident, more accepted by those around him. The overcoat was friend to him because it was there for him. It gave him a sense of security and it protected him in the frigid Petersburg climate.
The new overcoat, the symbol for Akaky Akakievich?s new life, was but a few pieces of fabric sewn together. Nevertheless, to Akaky it was much more. It did more for him than anyone in his life ever had and for that reason, he cared for it more than anything else in his life. His dependency on it had no boundaries and he cherished what it gave to him. A friendship, a world, a life.