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The Nose

The Nose

by Nikolai Gogol

Collegiate Assessor Kovalev Timeline and Summary

  • Collegiate Assessor Kovalev wakes up without his nose.
  • He keeps checking in the mirror, but no, definitely totally gone.
  • When he heads out into the street, he can't catch a cab and has to walk.
  • Kovalev pops into a restaurant to check a mirror again, and when he comes out he sees his nose—which is now a State Councilor (much higher rank).
  • After following the nose, Kovalev confronts it in a fancy pants shopping center—but the nose denies being his nose. The nerve!
  • Not sure what to do, Kovalev goes to a newspaper office to put an ad in the paper.
  • The clerk there listens to his story, checks out his face, but refuses to run the ad because it'll affect the paper's credibility.
  • He offers Kovalev snuff—which Kovalev of course can't use because he has no nose. Not very sensitive, Mr. Clerk.
  • Kovalev goes to the police, but the inspector there just reams him out for interrupting dinner.
  • At home, Kovalev is about to give up when a cop shows up with the nose in a handkerchief.
  • Kovalev is psyched, but the nose won't stick back on his face.
  • He calls for a doctor, who shows up and tells him there's nothing to be done, and offers to buy the nose. Hijinks!
  • The doctor is actually his nose in disguise.
  • Kovalev writes an angry letter to Madame Podtochina, the mother of his latest crush, accusing her of doing the nose thing.
  • Her return letter is all confused and apologetic, and she obviously has no idea what he's talking about.
  • So he decides to marry her daughter.
  • Until, that is, he wakes up two weeks later, and his nose is back.
  • Thrilled, he immediately goes out to see some friends.
  • On the way, he is contemptuous of any dude with a smaller nose than his.
  • He runs into Madame Podtochina and her daughter, flirts a little, and decides not to marry the girl after all.
  • He's perfectly happy to spend the rest of his life as social climber, and his nose stays put from then on.
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