Tolstoy. How much land?
anonymous on 10. Jul, 2012 — Lang: English
How is Tolstoy's "How Much Land..." Realist Literature?
Can anyone tell me what realist literature is?... Anyone? How about you Gerald?
There are, most times, an underlying story being told. A, "story within a story", if you will. On top of that, most of the characters have individual personalities- and you can tell just by reading- what those are. Take Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" for example. The main character, Pahom, is a very greedy individual concerning land. His wife tells her sister off about their less than outrageous lifestyle that they live as peasants. They are happy the way they are, she tells her sister, they are not to be poor because they don't spend everything they have because they are constantly working.
And does Tolstoy have a "story within the story" in this particular work?
Realist literature is, more or less, writing that simply reports what happened in a story, without any comment or judgement made by the author. It is to tell a story, and that is all. There is no room for excessive detail or an analyzation of the text. It is up to the reader to figure out.
Yes. He tells the story of Pahom, and how he is constantly desiring more and more land so that he can make more and more money, he becomes so zealous in his desires he doesn't think twice about jumping at the opportunity to get all the land he can walk around in one day from the Bashkirs. He walks all day, and when he realizes that he needs to start heading back, it's nearly sundown. He runs to get back to the "starting line" and ends up dropping dead after he gets there. His servant buries him in an ordinary grave. Only six feet long.
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Tolstoy is trying to show a few things in my opinion. First, he is trying to show that this man comes from a humble household. He and his wife are content in the way they live. Second, he is trying to tell us not to tempt fate. In the beginning of the story, the devil is listening to Pahom when he says "if I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself!" The devil then accepts his "challenge" and vows to give him all the land he could ever want, and then take it all away. In the end he succeeds.
The plot line for this story is horrible mundane. Why is that? Why can't there be more action and adventure and elaborating on certain aspects of the story?
Because realist literature is not focused on the small things or the action or the adventure. The plot lines are mundane because that is what realist literature is trying to portray. The "realistic" story. Which means a lot of these stories are focused on human flaws, fatal flaws if you will, and what they do to people who let them control them or their life. Pahom let his desire for more land to, unbeknownst to him, kill him. This is exactly what realist literature is trying to focus on. The superficial human characteristics that are so often related to unfortunate events in peoples lives. It goes the same for the good qualities in people. Moral of the story: don't get so caught up in what you want or what you think you need. How much land does a man really need? Just enough to dig a grave.