The Diary of a Madman


Nikolai Gogol

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The Diary of a Madman: November 12 Summary & Analysis

Poprishchin walks to the building where he saw Fidèle’s owner, and comments on the smell of cabbage, which comes “pouring” out of the nearby shops. He rings the doorbell at Fidèle’s owner’s apartment and asks for “a word” with the dog.
Poprishchin once again takes the time to render judgment on strangers, pointing out the terrible smell of cooking cabbage. This again reflects his inflated—frankly delusional—sense of self-importance.
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Poprishchin sees Fidèle’s basket in the corner and pulls out a “bundle” of papers. Poprishchin then rushes out of the house, and comments to himself that the maidservant who let him into Fidèle’s house must think he’s a “madman.”
In an ironic twist, Poprishchin points out how his behavior must make him look insane, not realizing the accuracy of the statement. Poprishchin, unaware that he is actually showing signs of madness, truly believes he has stolen the secret letter of a talking dog.
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