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Nikolay Gogols The Overcoat. The Conclusion - Essay Example

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The conclusion to "Nikolay Gogol's short story, "The Overcoat" is essential to the story because it brings closure that we can describe as successful and justified. While the ending of the story is fantastical, this does not hinder the story's meaning in any way…
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Nikolay Gogols The Overcoat. The Conclusion
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, the supernatural addition to the story gives it more power as we digest the entire meaning of the story. Without the supernatural ending, we are left with the notion that world is a bleak place to live. With the inclusion of Akaky's ghost exacting revenge upon the Person of Consequence, we see that there is justice in the world and that the world is guided by forces that lurk beyond the human realm. Gogol's fantastic ending is surprising and delightful and this adds to the depth of the story because it offers hope.

"The Overcoat" makes more sense when it is considered in the way it is presented - a tale of truth. The story is often discarded when readers reach the conclusion because they feel that it remove any substantial meaning. The way to read the story, however, is to take it at face value. Gogol wanted this ending to his rather realistic tale for a reason. He wanted readers to stop and consider supernatural occurrences in this tangible world in which we live. Victor Peppard observes that there are two ways that the story can be interpreted and maintains that "The Overcoat" has a "definite and tremendously significant relationship to the genre of the supernatural tale, particularly those tales about corpses and ghosts who have, or seem to have, returned from the dead" (Peppard). He believes that the story is meant to be "instructive" (Peppard) because of Gogol's literary predecessors. He also adds that it is "helpful to establish to what extent Gogol models his story on the generic requirements of the supernatural tale and to what extent he modifies them for his own purposes" (Peppard). Either way, "The Overcoat" plays out to be a supernatural story with a very moral message. This interpretation allows the ghost that appears at the end of the to be "even more persuasive than the guilty conscience of the significant personage" (Peppard). It must also be noted that the guilty conscious of the Person of Consequence is secondary to his conversion at the conclusion of the story. When we consider the ghost as a real character, the story not only makes sense, but it serves a real purpose.
The supernatural ending of the story is also intended to make the reader relate to Akaky's experience and rejoice with him that he did receive justice in the end. This is the only way that the story can end without the tale being a complete tale of travesty for the "little guy." Akaky is, in fact, the Person of Consequence's victim for a very long time. Gogol has spent much of the story allowing us to see Akaky's life and how he lives it. There can be no doubt that he is a simple man living a simple life. There can also be no doubt that he is a bit quirky and, as such, is the butt of many jokes. It is also important to notice that Akaky lives his life quiet peacefully. He does not impose upon anyone else and it appears that his only sin is the lust he develops for the new overcoat. From this perspective, we can determine that Akaky needs the supernatural ending as much as anybody does because that is the only way that he will see justice. We are forewarned of this when the narrator states that no one could have "imagined that this was not there was to tell" (Gogol 245) about Akaky. Then we are told that the story does have a "fantastic ending" (245). From this we can gather that Gogol wanted us to believe in the supernatural aspects of this tale and not only believe but take issues to heart. In short, there is justice in the world.
In addition, the conclusion of "The Overcoat" is significant because it is unique when it is examined against the rest of the tale. The supernatural ending to the story is actually the only fantastical element in "The Overcoat." Because the rest of the story is realistic, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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