In Leo Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need?", one way in which Pahom changes upon becoming a landowner is that his greed leads him to become blind to the needs and innocence of others. At the start of the story, as a peasant who rents land from...
In Leo Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need?", one way in which Pahom changes upon becoming a landowner is that his greed leads him to become blind to the needs and innocence of others.
At the start of the story, as a peasant who rents land from others, Pahom feels oppressed by the steward a lady landowner of the village has hired. The steward frequently accuses the peasants of trespassing on the lady's land and has them fined. Upon buying his own 40 acres from the lady, he at first overlooks peasant trespassers because he knows how burdensome the peasant life can be, as we see when the narrator explains, "He knew it was the peasants' want of land, and no evil intent on their part, that caused the trouble." Because he is understanding due to his own oppression, he turns the peasants off his land and forgives them each time. However, eventually, his greed for his own land overrides any feelings of compassion he has. He becomes so greedy to protect his land that he begins thinking to himself the following:
I cannot go on overlooking it, or they will destroy all I have. They must be taught a lesson. (Ch. 3)
After that point, he begins prosecuting the peasants in court and having them fined, just as he was fined by the oppressive steward.
Not only does he become as oppressive as the steward, his greed leads him to make a costly, blind mistake in judgement. When he sees that some unknown peasant has cut down a clump of lime trees to harvest their bark, he becomes so determined to find out who the guilty culprit is that he wrongly decides a peasant named Simon is the guilty one. He continues to believe in Simon's guilt even though Pahom can find no evidence of the deed around Simon's home. Regardless of lack of evidence, Pahom takes him to court. When Pahom loses the case, he becomes the laughingstock of the village, making his life miserable in the village. His misery is caused by his greed.