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Written by Aleksei Marchyn
Conscience and pride
Conscience and Pride of the narrator alternately are with varying success fighting hunger. He was given someone else's change to 5 crowns - enough money not to worry about food and lodging for several days. He takes them, but soon it begins to torment his conscience, so much that he gives the money the first met street vendor, then, full of pride, goes further, temporarily without thinking that he had nothing to eat. When emotions subside, and his hunger descends to him, the narrator returns to the tradeswoman and under the indignant eyes bashfully eats pies, excusing that he had paid in advance. Either like the entire story runs. And when he gets some money, he can throw it in the face of the landlady, who had hurt his pride, or give to the first poor met on the street. He lives always in a rush and ruled by impulses.
The monologue of the narrator with a stunning clarity transmits his mental state. Hunger gnaws into his mind, like a wild animal in the soft flesh of the victim, pulls apart, licking the blood and creepy grinning. Prolonged, unbearable hunger turns him into an inadequate being, which leaves the body, freeing it for Hunger. It's not him, but Hunger that walks among the well-fed, sleek from fat, citizens experiencing in one minute anger, and the urgent need to cause someone pain, humiliate, offend, tell a lie, a compliment, give something, bowed politely, smile, give all the money, to declare of love. Such global metamorphosis, experiences, transformation and false euphoria, wild gusts and full prostration - it's hunger that turned his mind in an uncontrollable, crazy energy. The narrator ceases to feel completely all the signals of the universe, hunger becomes a pathology.
The narrator is an incorrigible liar, as the says: “I don't know why I lied; my thoughts fluttered about disconnectedly and inspired me with many singular whims, more than I knew what to do with. I hit upon this on the spur of the moment, and blurted it out without any calculation”. He lies everyone and everywhere. But it is not just that he likes to deceive people, he does it because his pride is hurt indeed when accepting his miserable position. He admits that he is under very difficult conditions, but he does not want the others to think the same.
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