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Is the title "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" an appropriate one for the short story by...
Is the title "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" an appropriate one for the short story by Tolstoy?
Pahom's wife said: "We may live roughly, but at least we are free from anxiety. You live in better style than we do, but though you often earn more than you need, you're very likely to lose all you have. We know the proverb, 'Loss and gain are brothers twin.'"
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The premise behind Tolstoy's story is his admiration for the peasant life, which Pahom's wife defends (in the above quote), and his belief that the peasant life is the originator of spiritual and moral integrity. In this story, Tolstoy presents an ironic twist of events in which the peasant becomes the landed estate holder. Tolstoy is using the story to examine his concept of spiritual and moral integrity. The basis of this examination is the question (which doubles as the title) "How much land does a man need?"
Pahom thought: "Our only trouble is that we haven't land enough. If I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself."
The story shows Pahom's progress from poor peasant laying atop his stove to a landowner who is harassed and taking his neighbors to court to an immigrant who buys cheap land and builds a house to a greedy landowner who wants all--and more than--he can get. Of course, the Devil enters the picture to add a touch of religion-based fantasy and to help illustrate the answer to Tolstoy's question.
"All right," thought the Devil. "We will have a tussle."
In light of the above, yes, the title is appropriate to the story as it forms not only the spiritual and moral question Tolstoy wants to answer with it, but it forms the spiritual and moral conflict of the question the peasant grapples with. Since Pahom fails miserably to find the right answer because he thought land would give him spiritual strength ("I shouldn't fear the Devil himself") as well as a comfortable life, we can surmise that the answer to Tolstoy's question--appropriately and aptly used as the story's title--is that what is needed is enough land to live on but not so much land that greed sets in and breeds seeds of spiritual and moral corruption.
Posted by kplhardison on June 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM (Answer #1)
Yes. It is an appropriate title for the story because Pahom,the farmer did not know how much land does a man need and when to stop buying land. His goal was just to buy more and more land.But at last we come to know that Pahom had to meet his death because of his unlimited greed for land.So, we can say that this story actually tells us how much do we need(not only land)and when we should stop.
Posted by shruthiblues27 on June 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM (Answer #2)
The title "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" is appropriate. It is a question that offers reflection. Pahom is greedy. He desires more and more land. He covets his neighbor's land. Then he purchases more land. Finally, he ends up at the Bashkirs' land. He can have all that he can walk around in one day. Due to his greed, Pahom tries to cover too much land. While trying to race back to the starting point, he collapses and dies.
Then the question is important. How much land does Pahom really need. Ironically, Pahom has more than enough at his burial. Since six feet of land is all that Pahom needs at his death, all of his other land will go to waste. He will not be able to enjoy it.
So the question is a good question. If Pahom had really thought about it, he had more than enough land. When all is said and done, a man only needs six feet of land in which to be buried. Pahom's greed killed him. He died because of his lust for more and more land. In the end, his burial ground covered six feet. The title is apporpriate because it makes the reader think. It causes the reader to reflect upon the nature of the question. How much Land does a man need is a title with a twist of irony. If Pahom had reflected on the question and thought about its seriousness, he might still be alive.
Posted by podar10 on July 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM (Answer #3)
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