The Diary of a Madman

by

Nikolai Gogol

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The Diary of a Madman: The of 34 February th Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Poprishchin writes in despair that he “does not have the strength” to “endure.” He writes how people still pour water on his head and wonders why they “torment” him. He asks to be saved and wishes to be carried “out of this world,” as he cannot withstand their torture.
Poprishchin’s isolation from the world, combined with his poor treatment, eventually breaks his spirit. He calls out for help, not understanding why he is being treated cruelly. This is the first time in the story when Poprishchin seems aware of his unfortunate circumstances, and cognizant of how he has become truly separated from the world.
Themes
Insanity Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
He continues to call out for help, Poprishchin imagines that he sees some “Russian huts.” He wonders if that is his mother he sees “sitting at the window.” He asks his imagined mother to “save” her son and cries out that there is no “place” for him in the world. Then, suddenly, he switches topics and writes about how the Dey of Algiers, a royal figure in the Ottoman Empire, has a “bump” under his nose.
Poprishchin’s isolation has allowed him to achieve some self-realization in spite of his madness: he understands that he is completely alone. In his despair, he hallucinates a vision of his mother, and calls out for help. Poprishchin’s awareness does not last for long, however, and he soon begins to talk of new paranoid schemes. Poprishchin’s insanity returns in full force, and his moment of self-realization ends.
Themes
Insanity Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
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