What is the aim or objective of the short story "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" by Leo Tolstoy?

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The story should be understood against the historical backdrop of the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 by the Russian Tsar Alexander II. Once the serfs had been freed from control by their former masters, many of them naturally wanted to own land for themselves. Tolstoy supported emancipation, but at the same time he was worried that it would lead to peasants somehow losing their soul, severing their almost sacred connection to the soil by treating land as nothing more than an object, an economic commodity to be bought and sold.

That's precisely how Pahom comes to look upon the ground beneath his feet. His insatiable greed for land takes him far away from his ancestral homeland, both literally and metaphorically. Though the proud owner of many acres of valuable land, Pahom is spiritually homeless, and his greed causes the death of his soul long before it leads to his physical demise.

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The story seeks to educate the reader about the dangers of greed and unchecked desires. According to Pahom, land was the answer to all his troubles. During the conversation with his wife and sister-in-law, he boasted that with more land, he would not fear the devil himself. Pahom did not consider that there were other important things in life, and the devil took advantage of his weakness. Pahom was unaware that wealth came at a price; in his case, the price was his soul. The devil gave Pahom the opportunity to acquire land, which he desperately wanted. Pahom was ungrateful for what he received, however, and became greedy. He wanted more land, and his desire led him to make the wrong decisions, which eventually led to his death.

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