The Overcoat Report On Symbolisim Essay Research

The Overcoat (Report On Symbolisim) Essay, Research Paper

Symbols are seen everyday in people?s lives, whether they symbol is seen

frequently, or rarely seen, whether the symbol is lucid or obscured, the symbol

always has a meaning, and this is apparent in ?The Overcoat?, by Nikol Golgol. In

attempt to explain how an ordinary thing had the ability to become such an

influential symbol to a poor, lonely man, I will state how the symbol reached the

point of its highly influential symbolic status. I will also explain how the symbol

affected the man, and the role this symbol plays in this work of literature.

Akakay is a man, who in the beginning of the story, lacks the items and

mentality to make himself socially accepted. This seems to be mainly because of

his hideously worn-out overcoat. At last he realizes that a new overcoat is

necessary, and there is no way of going around it, but the process of achieving a

new overcoat is full of personal sacrifices Akaky must take. Akaky must be

careful with his boots, walking more careful than usual to make sure the soles do

not wear out as quickly. He must also limit the use of candles so he will not have

to buy as many, spending precious rubles that could be spent toward obtaining the

new overcoat. He is even so intent on saving money, he makes himself take his

work clothes off as soon as he gets home, so they do not become dirty, because the

more he has to do laundry, the longer it will take him to get his new overcoat.

Sacrifices seem to make the value of an item increase and it seems through this

process Akaky?s new overcoat becomes tremendously important to him than it

would for a rich person, who would not have to sacrifice anything for something

such as a new coat.

As soon as Akaky finally obtains the new overcoat, people treat him

differently instantaneously. As he goes into work that day, instead of being

mocked and sneered at, he seems to become an instant celebrity, with everyone

coming up to him and giving their congratulations on his brand new coat. The

coat has a profoundly positive effect on Akaky?s self esteem, he starts noticing

women and just basically enjoying life. Akakay even gets invited to a party, all

because of his new coat. Akaky definitely thought more of himself after he got the

coat, and so did many other people.

Clearly, the overcoat is a symbol portraying something much deeper than

what it presents on the surface, just like most symbols. I am sure there are many

different ways to interpret the symbol, and out of these I have found two, one of

which I will elaborate on. Nikol Golgol seemed to dislike authority from what I

gathered, by the story and the questions following it, and this story could be a stab

towards society. Human beings always judge people on physical appearance,

therefore, in this ?civilized? society, one must look their best in order to be

accepted and become successful. This was expressed by Akaky, who maybe

should not have cared so much about what the rest of the world thought, and

should have just tried to make himself happy. It shows the way society operates,

whether that is good or bad. Akaky was the same person all along, people just

never took the time to get to know him or to try and get him involved with their


The Overcoat is a story that should make anyone who reads it re-evaluate

themselves. Akaky, along with the rest of society, have that which Akaky gained

through the coat, whether it is brought on by our need to fit in with society, or our

need to clash with society, whether it is a large amount, a small amount, clearly

found, or hard to grasp, we all just need something


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