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These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. They are arguing about their lives as peasants. Pahom then thinks to himself, "If i only could have a lot of man, I would not fear the Devil himself. Pahom becomes a very rich man and he is able to buy estates and places to live.
He lives a comfortable life and pays his debt. In his glory, he forgets about the people he once knew and where he came from, embracing the life of a wealthy man instead. One day, he comes over a shocking bargain for more land: the Bashkirs will sell him as much land as he wants for the price of a thousand rubles - so long as he is able to mark the land he wants before the sun rises. He has to be back where he started, and if not, he loses all the land and the money.
Pahom is delighted and starts walking as soon as the sun sets. Dragging a spade along the ground he begins. In his thoughts, he forgets about the time, and when he notices the sun starts to rise, starts running back towards the beginning of the field. If he doesn't get there on time, he will lose all his land! Pahom reaches the beginning but falls and dies from exhaustion. The devil is laughing, answering the question in the title of the story: a man only needs 6 feet.
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How Much Land Does a Man Need? Summary
The protagonist of the story is a peasant named Pahom, who overhears his wife and sister-in-law argue over the merits of town and peasant farm life. He thinks to himself "if I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself! Unbeknownst to him, Satan is present sitting behind the stove and listening. Satan abruptly accepts his challenge and also tells that he would give Pahom more land and then snatch everything from him.
How Much Land Does a Man Need?
An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine clothes her children wore, what good things they ate and drank, and how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments. The younger sister was piqued, and in turn disparaged the life of a tradesman, and stood up for that of a peasant. You live in better style than we do, but though you often earn more than you need, you are very likely to lose all you have.
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The younger sister defends her lifestyle, claiming self-sufficiency and simplicity is the road to the moral high ground. When a local lady landowner suddenly decides to part with her property, Pakhom convinces her to sell him thirty acres. At first, Pakhom seems happy with his purchase. It would be perfect, he thinks, if not for the constant trespassing of local peasants.
How Much Land Does a Man Need