Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Foma Gordeyev

Foma Gordeyev (FOH-muh gohr-DEH-yehf), the son of a tough trader who owns barges and tugs and speculates on the exchange. Foma, wishing to know the meaning of life, has trouble accepting capitalistic views; he denounces local moneyed dignitaries by shouting reminders of their unsavory pasts for all to hear at a ship launching. He is hustled off to an insane asylum. Released, he is a drunken, broken man who wanders about the town, out of his mind and in rags. He is befriended only by his godfather’s daughter, a childhood friend, who gives him a small room.


Mayakin (mah-YAH-kihn), Foma Gordeyev’s godfather, in whose house Foma lived until he was six years old. Mayakin takes a personal interest in his godson’s life and fortune. He advises, and intervenes; finally, he takes a power of attorney over Gordeyev’s holdings and sends Foma to a mental hospital after he makes his outraged speech exposing the lives of respectable townsmen.


Liuboff (LEW-bof), Mayakin’s daughter, Foma’s friend from childhood. She never understands him but tries to do so by discussing ideas with him. She gives him sanctuary after his release from the asylum.

Ignat Gordeyev

Ignat Gordeyev (ihg-NAHT),...

(The entire section is 424 words.)