How Much Land Does a Man Need?

by

Leo Tolstoy

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The Devil makes frequent appearances in Tolstoy’s story and requires little in the form of introduction. He is eavesdropping during Pakhom’s debate over the merits of peasant life with his wife and her elder sister, and he takes Pakhom’s claim that enough land would protect him from the Devil as a personal affront. The Devil proclaims, “I shall see that you have plenty of land and that way I’ll get you in my clutches,” thus beginning Pakhom’s quest. The Devil disguises himself as the Bashkir elder, the traveling peasant, and the passing merchant, inserting himself into Pakhom’s life at key points during the story and tempting Pakhom to give in to his greedy impulses. Each time Pakhom acquires a new piece of property, the Devil is behind the transaction. Ultimately, the Devil’s attempts are successful in bringing about Pakhom’s demise, as he lures Pakhom to his death and ostensibly to Hell.

The Devil Quotes in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The How Much Land Does a Man Need? quotes below are all either spoken by The Devil or refer to The Devil. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of How Much Land Does a Man Need? published in 1994.
Chapter 1  Quotes

“It's true what you say,” he said. “Take me. Ever since I was a youngster I've been too busy tilling the soil to let that kind of nonsense enter my head. My only grievance is that I don't have enough land. Give me enough of that and I'd fear no one—not even the Devil himself!”

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

“Good,” he thought. “I'll have a little game with you. I shall see that you have plenty of land and that way I'll get you in my clutches!”

Related Characters: The Devil (speaker), Pakhom
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

They met once, they met twice, but no progress was made: the Devil had set them at loggerheads and there was nothing they could agree upon. In the end they decided to buy the land in separate lots, each according to what he could afford.

Related Characters: Pakhom, The Devil, The Lady Landowner
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

“The land is so fertile,” he said, “that rye grows as high as a horse and it's so thick you can make a whole sheaf from only five handfuls! One peasant arrived with a copeck and only his bare hands to work with and now he has six horses and two cows.”

Related Characters: The Traveling Peasant (speaker), Pakhom, The Devil
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

And then Pakhom saw that it wasn't the peasant, but the Devil himself, with horns and hoofs, sitting there laughing his head off, while before him lay a barefoot man wearing only shirt and trousers. When Pakhom took a closer look he saw that the man was dead and that it was himself.

Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Devil Character Timeline in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The timeline below shows where the character The Devil appears in How Much Land Does a Man Need?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
Class and Society Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
...had more land, claiming that with enough land he would “fear no one—not even the Devil himself!” (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
Class and Society Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
Nearby, the Devil sits listening to the family’s conversation. He receives Pakhom’s claim as a personal dare and... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Class and Society Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
...to sell her property to them in the name of a village commune. However, the Devil turns them into “loggerheads,” and they are unable to agree upon a price. As a... (full context)
Chapter 7
Class and Society Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
Pakhom’s dream soon takes an even stranger turn, and the traveling peasant transforms into the Devil himself, complete with horns and hoofs, laughing. Pakhom discovers that his own dead body is... (full context)