Poprishchin does not want to believe that Sophie will marry Teplov. He begins to rant about how Teplov cannot be that much better than anyone else. He tries to figure out if there are really “all these differences” between him and higher-class men. Poprishchin then wonders if he is actually “some sort of count,” and only seems to be a low-class “councillor.”
The letter frustrates Poprishchin and confirms his fears about higher class men operating in their own special circles. Again, though, the letter is really an expression of Poprishchin’s own insecurities, and as such it’s no wonder that it seems to confirm them. Nevertheless, he is so distraught that his mental instability deepens, and he begins to fantasize about his mistaken identity.
Poprishchin then discusses how there are “so many examples” of men suddenly realizing that they are noble or high-class. He daydreams about wearing a general’s uniform, and wonders what the director would think. He asks himself why he cannot be “promoted this minute” to a higher rank and wonders anew “what makes him” a “councillor.”
Although the scenario Poprishchin dreams about is highly unrealistic, he begins to justify it mentally. Poprishchin believes there are multiple examples of men realizing they are secretly noble, much like he believed there were many examples of talking animals. Poprishchin employs this line of thinking frequently, to rationalize his delusions.