The Diary of a Madman


Nikolai Gogol

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The Diary of a Madman: November 6 Summary & Analysis

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” since he is getting older and it is time that Poprishchin “got smart.” The section chief teases him for having an unrealistic crush on the director’s daughter and points out that Poprishchin is making very little money and can’t save any of it.
Yet again, Poprishchin uses his diary to vent his frustration about his coworkers. The section chief comments that a man of Poprishchin’s age should be smarter about his money and more aware of his actual financial situation. These comments provide new perspective on Poprishchin’s character and expose the unearned self-importance that comprises Poprishchin’s view of himself.
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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 that in comparison, he has “signs of benevolence” that have been “bestowed” on him. Poprishchin then reemphasizes that he is a nobleman and can get a better reputation.
Poprishchin’s responds to the section chief’s criticism in his diary by making fun of his boss’s looks. Poprishchin also compares the section chief’s social reputation to his own. Poprishchin’s fixation on social class prevents him from taking his boss’s critique seriously; instead of realizing that his inability to save money is a problem, he merely makes fun of his superior.
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