The Nose Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Who is the "I" referring to in the short story? How did the author use this pronoun to express his views? More specifically, in the last paragraph, why did "I" confess that the story is completely inconceivable?

    The "I" in the short story was referring to the narrator. The narrator made the satirical conclusion at the end to showcase the illogical points made in the story. However, he also goes on to admit that there are some truths to the story. These truths are probably aspects of society which the author made fun of through taking cultures and beliefs of people to an extreme. The hypothetical situation of a nose disappearing not only expands the imagination of the readers but also points out the superficial qualities of society.

  2. 2

    What significance did the Nose hold? Why did Kovalev lose this body part as supposed to any other such as eyes, ears, or mouth?

    The nose held a significance because it is believed by the author, or at least Kovalev, to be the most important part of a body. In fact, the major exclaims: "My God, my God! What have I done to deserve this? If I’d lost an arm or a leg it
    wouldn’t be so bad. Even without any ears things wouldn’t be very pleasant, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world." In society, beauty standards are viewed as extremely important and people are judged based on their looks. In this particular story, the nose was seen as an important factor in the people's beauty standard and the desperation that the major experienced after the nose's disappearance confirms the superficial qualities valued by society. Because even though losing his nose did not actually negatively impact his physical well being, the major could not continue his life the way it was because he was worried that people would perceive him differently and his chances with women would decrease.

  3. 3

    The Nose is a satirical story written by Russian author Nikolai Gogol. What was the piece making fun of? (ex. How people socialized, how people were ranked, how the society worked, how people treated each other?)

    The piece pokes fun at the amount of energy that people spend to make others perceive them a certain way. The major completely lost his confidence in front of people without his nose, and he felt nervous when talking to higher ranks, even his own nose. In the cathedra; Kovalev was troubled by how he could approach his Nose, who is dressed as a state councilor. In fact, the Nose also points out the discrepancy in their rankings during the conversation: "Judging by the buttons on your uniform, you must serve in a different department." The superficial quality of society labeled people as of more value and some to be of less value. The social rigidity prevents the lower classes from being able to perform their full potential.

  4. 4

    Kovalev wore many seals with honor, and instead of referring to himself as a collegiate assessor, he preferred "major". How does this detail show the materialism of Kovalev and possibly of the society in general?

    Kovalev was very proud of his ranking as a Caucasian collegiate assessor and could not forget it for a moment. Even though his ranking is small, he likes to act as if he had a lot of power. This goes to signify the overall obsession that society has with money and power.

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