The futility of socioeconomic ascension

Pahom"s initial desire to come to be a landowner is understandable: upward mobility will purportedly give him jae won independence and also relieve his subjection come the upper class"s exploitation and mistreatment that peasants. However, Pahom faces substantial hardships in his quest to gain as lot land together possible: the goes right into debt, travels thousands of miles by foot, abandons his family, loses his empathy and also moral decency, and also finally die of exhaustion. Once Pahom meets his demise, Tolstoy depicts financial ascension together not only an infeasible endeavor—but a trivial one. Pahom’s avarice and devotion to land ownership merely amount come the burying that his lifeless human body in a little grave, as shown by the concluding heat of the story: "Six feet native his head come his heels was every he needed" (24). Despite the thousands of acres Pahom purchases end the years, his follow for wealth way nothing in death.

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Powerlessness

Disempowerment pervades Pahom’s life, both as a peasant and a landowner. Together a peasant, he must pay the soldier’s senseless fines because that minor transgressions the fall outside of his control. He desire to come to be a landowner come activate his independence, elevate his life conditions, and also escape structural course limitations. However, also when the acquires hundreds of acres the land and ascends to a greater socioeconomic status, Pahom adheres to the ideals that an financial system the equates residential or commercial property ownership with freedom. Since of this, that feels trapped and unfulfilled in each one of his estates and embarks ~ above a zealous pursuit for more land to acquire a profitable and systematic life. This search is fraught, as Pahom is stuck in an inescapable cycle the will never reach a point of complete satiation. His make the efforts to obtain freedom, ironically, only cause discontent and also entrapment. Through this, Tolstoy gift the layout of illusionary autonomy in the pursuit for increase mobility.

God and the Devil's control

In addition to financial institutions, Tolstoy mirrors how religious forces control a man’s life. In component 1, the evil one decides to tempt Pahom v land, catalyzing his descent into greed and also sin. The Devil also amplifies the peasants’ discord together they attempt—but fail—to equitably allocate the land in component 2. The Devil"s steering of personalities onto morally treacherous routes illustrates mankind"s aptitude come succumb come evil.

Unlike the Devil, God does not appear as an actual character in the story, however nonetheless profoundly effects Pahom’s feeling of complimentary will. As soon as attempting to secure a officially contract with the Bashkirs, Pahom characteristics his lack of autonomy end his own future come God: "Life and death space in god’s hands. You good people provide it to me, however your kids might wish to take it away again" (15). Moreover, as he battles to reach the hillock in component 9, the again concerns if God will allow him to enjoy product success in the future: “There is plenty of land...but will God let me live ~ above it? I have actually lost mine life, I have lost mine life!” (23). Here, Pahom recognizes God’s strength to determine his fate and also ultimate death. Utilizing the Devil and God in tandem, Tolstoy cautions against placing too lot value into ambition and also material wealth, as we space all topic to outside forces who deserve to undo these classic markers of success.

The exploitative upper class

A devotion to generating profit and also accumulating product possession specify the wealthier characters in the story. The extreme of this characterization varies amongst different characters; for instance, the wealthier sister simply brags about her status and accessibility to superficial luxuries in the city. Others, such as Pahom and the innkeeper, actively use their place of power to preserve peasants" unequal status in society. In the beginning parts that the story, Pahom self endures the exploitative wrath that the wealthier class. The old soldier, that becomes the female landowner’s residential property manager, enforces fines top top Pahom and also other peasants in the commune for minor offenses past their control, together as livestock wandering right into the landowner’s estate. Despite the agony Pahom deals with at the hands of the exploitative upper class, he imposes even crueler, more excessive fines ~ above peasants once he becomes a landowner himself. He worths the procurement the wealth, power, and cultural capital over ethical decency and compassion toward peasants—and, as such, perpetuates the really cycle of dehumanization and also inequity that wished come escape.

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Greed

Tolstoy gift greed together a terrible force that can overtake and corrupt a person’s character. In his effort to procure as lot land together possible, Pahom undergoes too much tumult and also begins to neglect notions the community, compassion, and also morality: the capitalizes top top peasants’ perilous financial predicaments, selling his belongings, goes right into debt, and leaves his family. His desperation for material status only begets much more greed and unfulfillment. He never feels satisfied with his estates—even the one in part 4, whereby he grows multiple crops and experiences effective harvests, owns three times as much land together he go in former estates, and shares plentiful communal land. Pahom’s expansive floor purchases only prompt that to desire more, culminating in a greed so irrepressible the it fuels his sirloin to case Bashkirian land, also as that feels his body deteriorating.

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