Sunday, April 7, 2013
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
** spoiler alert **
Good old Wikipedia describes a "superfluous man" as "an individual, perhaps talented and capable, who does not fit into social norms." Well that is a good description of our main character Ilya Oblomov, in the novel Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov. He is a man who spends his days laying in bed or on the couch day dreaming, refusing to "live" his life. Yup, that's it... and he's my hero (only half joking).
Oblomov is a nobleman who has arrested development. He is lazy, slothful, and a dreamer, but the real question is why does Oblomov behave in this way? The novel describes his childhood, which clearly, any reader can see is the root of his trouble. Now Oblomov does have a bout of energy when he finds love, but his nature, his refusal to make decisions doesn't allow this love to fully bloom.
In the end, it is a sad story of a man whose "intellect was equal to that of his fellows, his soul was as clear and bright as glass, his disposition was kindly, and he was a gentlemen to the core. Yet he – he fell. And what was the cause of his fall? The disease of Oblomovka."