The Diary of a Madman


Nikolai Gogol

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The Section Chief Character Analysis

The section chief is one of Poprishchin’s managers. The section chief is critical of Poprishchin’s behavior and professionalism, pointing out Poprishchin’s lack of career advancement despite being forty years old. The section chief is also off put by Poprishchin’s infatuation with the boss’s daughter, Sophie, and brings attention to the class disparity between them. The section’s chief criticism of Poprishchin’s behavior is one of the only external insights into Poprishchin’s character. His descriptions illustrate Poprishchin’s professional failures, indicating that despite Poprishchin’s lofty opinion of himself, he is actually an unproductive and inept worker.

The Section Chief Quotes in The Diary of a Madman

The The Diary of a Madman quotes below are all either spoken by The Section Chief or refer to The Section Chief. 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:
Social Class and Status Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Diary of a Madman published in 1999.
November 6 Quotes

“You’re over forty— it’s time you got smart. What are you dreaming of? Do you think I don’t know all your pranks? You’re dangling after the director’s daughter! Well, take a look at yourself, only think, what are you? You’re a zero, nothing more. You haven’t got a kopeck to your name.”

Related Characters: The Section Chief (speaker), Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin , Sophie
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

I see why he’s angry with me. He’s jealous. Maybe he saw the signs of benevolence preferentially bestowed on me… Wait, friend! we, too, will become a colonel and, God willing, maybe something even higher. We’ll get ourselves a reputation even better than yours.

Related Characters: Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin (speaker), The Section Chief
Page Number: 283–284
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Section Chief Character Timeline in The Diary of a Madman

The timeline below shows where the character The Section Chief appears in The Diary of a Madman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
October 3
Writing, Escapism, and Fantasy Theme Icon
...woken up late for work, he rushes to the office. He knows his manager, the section chief , will berate him for being late, as he has criticized Poprishchin for other professional... (full context)
November 6
Isolation Theme Icon
Poprishchin begins this diary entry by illustrating his anger with his manager, the section chief . The section chief had commented on Poprishchin’s career, saying he should “think a little”... (full context)
Social Class and Status Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Poprishchin, instead of taking this commentary on his career prospects seriously, believes the section chief is jealous. Poprishchin begins to make fun of the section chief’s physical attributes, and claims... (full context)
The 86th of Martober. Between day and night.
Social Class and Status Theme Icon
Insanity Theme Icon
...not been to work for three weeks. Poprishchin goes and refuses to apologize to the section chief for his truancy. His coworkers place papers in front of him, but he refuses to... (full context)