| Quote #1
He stuck in his fingers, and pulled out—a nose! [...] His hands dropped to his sides for a moment. Then he rubbed his eyes hard. Then again he probed the thing. A nose! Sure enough a nose! Yes, and one familiar to him, somehow! Oh, horror spread upon his face! (1.7)
You have to love how Kovalev experiencing fear looking at a facial feature… and that fear is being reflected on his own features. Like, we aren't told that he feels bad, but instead that the badness can be seen on his face. But, uh, without much a face left, how does that horror spread? You can practically hear Gogol laughing at us.
| Quote #2
So [the barber] sat silent. At the thought that the police might find the nose at his place, and arrest him, he felt frantic. Yes, already he could see the red collar with the smart silver braiding—the sword! He shuddered from head to foot. (1.14)
Fear seems to pretty much be the barber's main emotion. He's stressed at the idea of exposure and being caught, which is fine, but, uh, shouldn't there be other feelings? Guilt or innocence? Confusion about how this nose came to be in his bread roll? Sudden and dramatic loss of appetite?
| Quote #3
"Stop, Prascovia Osipovna! I'll wrap it in a rag, in some corner: leave it there for awhile, and afterwards I'll take it away." […] But at last he got out, and donned waistcoat and shoes, wrapped the nose in a rag, and departed amid Prascovia Osipovna's forcible abjurations. His one idea was to rid himself of the nose, and return quietly home—to do so either by throwing the nose into the gutter in front of the gates or by just letting it drop anywhere. Yet, unfortunately, he kept meeting friends, and they kept saying to him: "Where are you off to?" or "Whom have you arranged to shave at this early hour?" until finding a suitable moment became impossible. (1.10-16)
The barber is totally unable to commit to a plan of action. Everything he does is totally reactive—to his wife, to the nose, to friends he meets on the street. Are we supposed to think that he's different from Kovalev—or is this something the two dudes have in common?