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How Much Land Does a Man Need

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1 How Much Land Does a Man Need
Leo Tolstoy

2 Quiz questions What are the two sisters boasting of at the beginning of the story? How does Pakhom at first feel when he buys a piece of land and becomes a landowner? How does he get along with his neighbors some time after he becomes a landowner? What brings Pakhom to the land of the Bashkirs? What happens to Pakhom in the end?

3 Leo Tolstoy - Writer - Thinker - Reformer

4 Leo Tolstoy ( )’s life Parents were aristocrats (count and countess) Lost both parents early in his life Went to University Served in the army in Traveled to western Europe in 1857, founded thirteen schools for his serfs' children Married in 1862, 13 children by her Adopted extreme moralistic and ascetic views after after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s Became a moral thinker and social reformer

5 Leo Tolstoy’s major works
War and Peace ( ) 战争与和平 Anna Karenina ( ) 安娜·卡列尼娜 The Resurrection (1899)复活


7 Review of more details

8 What boast does Pakhom make at the beginning of the story?
“If I had plenty of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!” (p. 178)

9 What are the factors that prompt Pakhom to buy his first piece of land?
Sister-in-law’s boasting of better city life and disparaging of their rough village life. Pakhom is made to pay fines for his cattle sometimes runs loose and strays into the landlady’s land or garden. Pakhom becomes envious when seeing one of his neighbors is buying land.

10 How does Pakhom come to learn of other opportunities to acquire land?
A peasant passing through his village who just came from beyond the Volga where people who joined the commune were granted 25 acres per man; A passing dealer just returning from the land of the Bashkirs where he had bought 13,000 acres of land for 1,000 rubles, less than a penny an acre.

11 How large is the first piece of land he buys?
40 acres 40x4050m2=162,000m2=243亩 How much land does Pakhom get when he moves to settle on the new place? 125 acres 125x4050m2=506,250m2=759亩

12 What arrangement does the Bashkir chief agree to make with Pakhom?
The arrangement is that for 1,000 rubles Pakhom will be given the land he can go round on his feet in a day on the condition that if he doesn’t return on the same day to the spot where he started, his money is lost (p.183).

13 Interpretation

14 Why is the Devil pleased that Pakhom makes his boast?
Because the Devil sees Pakhom’s weakness in his boast and believes Pakhom will fall into his power for that weakness (desire/greed for land).

15 Why does the arrangement the Bashkir chief makes with Pakhom lead to Pakhom’s death?
Because according to the arrangement, the amount of land Pakhom can have depends on how fast he can walk. Since Pakhom’s desire of land seems to have no limit, he is doomed to die of fast and exhausting walk in that hot day.

16 What essentially leads to Pakhom’s death?
Pakhom’s unlimited greed for land

17 Does Pakhom realize his mistake before he dies?
Yes and no. On the surface, he seems to realize his mistake of trying for too much. But ultimately he doesn’t realize where his problem lies. Otherwise he can stop running and save his life in spite of the loss of 1000 rubles.

18 What kind of audience do you think Tolstoy was trying to reach with his story?
People who own land (landowner and landlady) or who are rich. All of us who are never satisfied with what we already have and are easy to be taken away by our desire for more. (greedy tendency)

19 Situational Irony 情景反讽

20 Definition of Irony 反讽 A conflict between reality and appearance or expectations.

21 Situational Irony Occurs when what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or what appears to be. Describe an example of situational irony in the story.

22 Situational Irony 1 Words said by Pakhom’s wife about a peasant’s life: “… at least we are free from anxiety.” “Our way is safer. Though a peasant’s life is not a fat one, it is a long one.” “… it is sure … But you … are surrounded by temptations. The Evil One may tempt your husband … and all will go to ruin.” (p ) In opposition to her statements, her husband is not free from anxiety and temptations. Her husband will soon come to the end of his short life for his desire of more land.

23 Situational Irony 2 Pakhom’s statement about his living situation:
when he owns 40 acres of land, he wants to have more land because he thinks “I am still too cramped to be comfortable,” “Why should I suffer in this narrow hole” “In this crowded place one is always having trouble.” (p.180) However, the actual fact is he has plenty of land and can be happy with what he already has and be free from anxiety.

24 Situational Irony 3 Pakhom expects to obtain a large piece of land at an extremely low price from the Bashkirs. However, he ends up paying an extremely high price – his life – for that.

25 Effect of Situational Irony
1) shows people are often caught unaware by various temptations and are blind to the harmfulness of these temptations; 2) enhances Pakhom’s unlimited greed, his never being satisfied with what he has; 3) highlights the theme that greed is a fatal enemy to human beings and that there is no greater disaster like greed.

26 Dramatic Irony 戏剧性反讽

27 Dramatic irony used in the story
We the readers know the Devil is having a tussle with Pakhom, competing to get him into his power, waiting for Pakhom to fall into his power by giving him the land he wants. The character Pakhom is not aware of the Devil’s evil intention and tricks, doesn’t know the land is given by the Devil and that by acquiring the land sent by the Devil, he is stepping nearer and nearer into the Devil’s hand.

28 The Effect of Dramatic Irony
It enhances the level of suspense. We the readers are extremely curious about the end of such a contest / tussle. We wonder if the Devil is right and if Pakhom can escape the fate arranged by the Devil.

29 Allegory 寓 言

30 Definition of Allegory
A literary, dramatic, or pictorial device in which characters and events stand for good and bad qualities, abstract ideas, principles, or forces, such as purity, truth, patience, sloth, greed, etc.寓言,讽喻,寓言体小说,一种文学、戏剧或绘画的艺术手法,其中具体的人物和事件代表/象征好的和坏的品质、抽象的观点、原则或支配力,如纯洁、真理、耐心、懒惰、贪婪等

31 In what sense is the story an allegory?
Here the Devil represents all evil things and temptations that bring disaster or unhappiness to human beings. Pakhom represents every one who is greedy in various manners and cannot resist the temptation of possessing more. Land represents any object of desire or greed.

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