The Overcoat - Character

Character of Akaky Akakievich
 Akaky is very obsessive in that he sticks to a strict routine and
does not prefer to stray from it in any way. He does not like
change and therefore fixates on the things that he does have.
 “Regardless of how many directors and higher officials of all sorts came
and went, he was always seen in the same place, in the same position, at
the very same duty, precisely the same copying clerk” (476, top of
paragraph 2)
 “‘It’s like this, Petrovich…the overcoat, the cloth…you see everywhere
else it is quite strong; it’s a little dusty and looks as though it were old,
but it is new and it is only in one place just a little…on the back, and just
a little worn on one shoulder and on this shoulder, too, a little…do you
see? That’s all, and it’s not much work…’” (480, last paragraph).
 “…all that was evident was that his incoherent words and thoughts were
concerned with nothing but the overcoat.” (492, near bottom of page)
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Invisible/A Nobody
 Akaky is invisible to others in that he goes around always
doing the same thing over and over again and goes unnoticed
because of it. He is also considered a nobody in that his
coworkers find him to be lowly or not considered worthy of being
human so they pick on him and treat him like he isn’t a person.
 “His superiors treated him with a sort of despotic aloofness. The
head clerk’s assistant used to throw papers under his nose without
even saying ‘Copy this’… (476, paragraph 2)
 No one has been able to remember when and how long he entered
the department, nor who gave him the job. (476, paragraph )
 The young clerks jeered and made jokes at him to the best of their
clerkly wit, and told before his face of all sorts of stories of their
own invention about him… (476, beginning of paragraph 2)
YouTube video: 1.
 When Akaky is forced to make change he transitions to
becoming optimistic of change rather than fearing it. Such
can be seen when he is forced to get a new overcoat, but
looks forward to it.
 “Every second he was conscious that he had a new overcoat
on his shoulders, and several times he actually laughed from
inward satisfaction.” (485, paragraph 2)
 “He found it rather difficult to get used to these privations,
but after a while it became a habit and went smoothly
enough…he had spiritual nourishment, for he carried ever in
his thoughts the idea of his future overcoat.” (483, bottom of
 One can conclude that Akaky is very awkward and anti-social
due to the way he communicates with others. He is unable to
communicate well or articulate his thoughts and feelings to
people. He also demonstrates to be a very awkward and antisocial man at his job and with other people in general.
 “It must be noticed that Akaky Akakievich for the most part
explained himself by apologies, vague phrases, and meaningless
parts of speech which have absolutely no significance whatever.
If the subject were a very difficult one, it was his habit indeed to
leave his sentences quite unfinished…” (480, paragraph 4)
 “He simply did not know how to behave, what to do with his
arms and legs and his whole body; at last he sat down beside the
players…” (487, middle of page)
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 Akaky’s quiet character prevents him from going out,
getting to know people from his job, and from talking to
people in general.
 “In short, even when everyone was eagerly seeking
entertainment, Akaky Akakievich did not indulge in any
amusement” (478, near end of paragraph 2)
 “‘A hundred and fifty rubles for an overcoat!’ screamed
poor Akaky Akakievich – it was perhaps the first time he
had screamed in his life, for he was always distinguished
by the softness of his voice” (481, bottom of page)

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