Study Guide

The Diary of a Madman Section 2: October 4

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Section 2: October 4

  • It's a Wednesday, Poprishchin writes. This is how he describes his day:
  • He gets to work early and sharpens all of his director's pens. And believe it or not, this was one of the most important tasks of a Russian minor clerk. If he (and always he, never she) sharpened the pens well, he would have a better shot at a promotion. Sure, Poprishchin.
  • Poprishchin says his director must be a very intelligent man because his study is filled with books in French and German.
  • Poprishchin also says that the director never talks to him except for a few words about the weather, but he still thinks the director likes him.
  • At one-thirty, an event takes place that Poprishchin says no pen can describe. We are listening, and this better be good…
  • The door opens, and to Poprishchin's great surprise, the director's daughter comes in, looking magnificent in a white gown. That gaze! That voice!
  • She asks Poprishchin if her father has been to the office.
  • He wants to tell her to not punish him, but if it is her will to punish him, to punish him with her own hand. (And we say under our breath, "Punish? What on earth are you talking about?")
  • But instead, he only says to her, "No, ma'am."
  • She drops her handkerchief (probably just to make him pick it up), and he literally falls all over himself trying to pick it up and give it to her. She thanks him and leaves.
  • Yes, folks, this is the event that no pen could describe. Really. Maybe P forgot to sharpen that one.
  • Poprishchin goes home and he copies some poetry to entertain himself. Shmoop figures this is what people did for fun before reality TV or Instagram.
  • Then he goes out to his director's house hoping to catch a glimpse of his daughter.

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