Study Guide

The Diary of a Madman Section 1: October 3

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Section 1: October 3

  • Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin is writing in his diary about an extraordinary adventure that took place that day. Here is how his day has gone:
  • The section chief has been telling Poprishchin lately that he has been making such a mess of the cases he has been working on that the devil himself couldn't sort it out.
  • Poprishchin confesses in the diary that he went to the office that day only to try to get an advanced payment from the treasurer, whom he calls "that Jew" and curses out. Really. Not cool.
  • Poprishchin writes that working in his department is not profitable. He says people who work in the provincial government might be worthless, but unlike him, they have big houses and get better bribes. He says if his job weren't so noble and pure, he would have quit long ago.
  • We'd started to wonder where Poprishchin lives, and now we know he lives in a big city.
  • Poprishchin writes that he then put on his old overcoat and took an umbrella and went outside. It's pouring outside and there's nobody in the streets.
  • He sees his director's carriage drive up to a shop, but the director's daughter, not the director himself, gets out. He's totally smitten.
  • Poprishchin says his overcoat is very dirty and old-fashioned, and he tries to hide from her.
  • She goes into the shop, but her little lapdog, Medji, is left in the street.
  • A minute later, Poprishchin hears a little voice that says, "Hello, Medji!" He looks around and realizes the voice is coming from another dog being walked by two ladies. Umm…
  • The two dogs are talking and Poprishchin is surprised, but well, these things happen sometimes.
  • What really shocks him, though, is that Medji tells the other dog, Fidele, that she wrote her a letter.
  • Poprishchin confesses here that lately he has been seeing and hearing things that no one has ever seen or heard before.
  • He decides to follow Fidele and the two ladies, who stop in front of a big apartment building, which is a bit of a dump with many renters of all types living there.
  • We realize at this point from the street names that he lives in Saint Petersburg. Want to see the route he takes to follow the dog and the two ladies? Here you go. Thanks, Internet. FYI: what used to be Meshchansaya Street is now Kazanskaya Street.

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