The Overcoat

The reading for today was a story entitled Gogol or “The Overcoat”. The story centers around on poor man who lives in Saint Petersburg. He works as a copier and seems to be contented with his job and life. He works very hard for very little but evidently that is very common because he received a bonus of sixty rubles and was extremely happy about it. The story begins with him needing a new overcoat to keep out the cold during the Russian winters. Because of this he goes to a tailor and has a coat made despite the fact that it cost him twice his life savings. After he receives the coat he goes to a part and on his way back he is robed of his coat. After finds that he will get no help from the police and the high administrator he sprits into depression and dies. After his death he does manage to get revenge in the form of the high administrator’s coat.

The most interesting part of this story is the fact that this man is living on such a small margin. He appears to be living on a day to day amount of money with nothing set aside for the future. It makes me wonder what they do when they are no longer able to works. If they have no savings or family then are there any social services that existed to keep them alive. Also did someone clean the streets

Review Articles

The review article “Gulag Historiography: An Introduction”, written by Wilson T. Bell, a former visiting professor at Dickinson College, attempts to explain what an actual Gulag is. Although the term was originally used as an acronym for Stalin’s labor camps, it currently is used to describe various forms of labor camps all over the world along with having numerous definitions. The second review article, written by Steven Maddox and has no title, compares two books: Preserving Petersburg: History, Memory, Nostalgia–a compilation of essays edited by Helena Goscilo and Stephen M. Norris– and From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II, written by Dickinson College professor, Karl D. Qualls. This review article reviewed the two books on how they “discuss issues of urban identity, historic preservation, and persistence of local memories and cultures in St. Petersburg and Sevastopol” (Maddox 241).

Although both articles are review articles, they are very different types. Bell’s article reviewed the history of the word “gulag”, which called for the use of many different sources. About half of each page consisted of footnotes. It wasn’t focused on specific works, but rather the topic as a whole.

Maddox’s article goes into great depth on each of the books, while comparing and contrasting the two books. Maddox’s positive review had me intrigued and interested in reading the books he was reviewing. At the end of the review, I found it interesting how Maddox’s questions for the authors truly demonstrated how closely related the two books are to each other, and how there are avenues for greater exploration on the topics.

Overall, I found both reviews extremely well written and interesting. Although they were both different types of reviews, the common theme between the two is that they both easily explain their concepts and ideas to the reader.

Is it more effective to cover a topic using many different sources, or to focus the topic with just a few?