How do the young officials treat Akaky Akakievich in "The Overcoat"?

In "The Overcoat," the young officials treat Akaky Akakievich abominably. They laugh at him and make fun of him. They even spread scurrilous stories about him, such as that his seventy-year-old landlady beats him.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Poor old Akaky Akakievich is led an absolute dog's life in the unnamed government department in which he works. He receives absolutely no respect from his work colleagues or anyone else who works in the department. Whenever this put-upon, downtrodden clerk passes by, the porter doesn't rise from his seat...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Poor old Akaky Akakievich is led an absolute dog's life in the unnamed government department in which he works. He receives absolutely no respect from his work colleagues or anyone else who works in the department. Whenever this put-upon, downtrodden clerk passes by, the porter doesn't rise from his seat as is customary. What's more, he doesn't even look at Akaky; it's almost as if he doesn't exist.

His superiors are no better; they treat Akaky in a “cooly despotic fashion.” They regularly shove bits of paper under his nose without so much as a word. Akaky simply picks up the piece of paper without looking at the person who gave it to him and sets about copying it.

As for the young officials in the department, they're the most disrespectful of all. They routinely laugh and make fun of Akaky. To make matters worse, they make up all kinds of cruel stories about him, such as that his seventy-year-old landlady beats him. Akaky tries to ignore their unpleasant behavior, but that's easier said than done, especially when they move his hand to prevent him from doing any work.

Given everything that Akaky has put up with on a daily basis, it's nothing short of miraculous that he never makes a single mistake in his work.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on