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Understanding Society's False Reverence in "A Hero of our Time" by Mikhail Lermonto.v

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Introduction

X IB World Lit 12.21.11 Understanding Society's False Reverence in A Hero of our Time Throughout the novel A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov, Lermontov uses characters in order to criticize the general population's view and understanding of Grigory Pechorin. One of the characters I believe this is most traceable in is Maxim Maximych. In the past, while serving at a Fort near Kamenny Brod, Maxim and Pechorin had been great friends. In Bela, we see that Maxim held Pechorin in such high esteem that he saw him as a romantic, honorable, heroic figure. This viewpoint contrasts with his thoughts on Pechorin at the end of the chapter Maxim Maximych, at which point he realizes these views were unreal and founded in blind optimism. In the beginning of Maxim Maximych, Maxim gets excited at the thought of seeing his old dear friend when he learns he is in town, only to be utterly let down when he sees how unfriendly Pechorin is. At this point Maxim was in a state of expressing optimism at seeing Pechorin, being let down, then recycling his old optimism. As Maxim passes through more of these "optimism cycles" his physical movement decreases mirroring his progressively more pessimistic views on Pechorin. ...read more.

Middle

This electric movement reveals the very thought of seeing Pechorin again sent a bolt of excitement through Maxim. While waiting for Pechorin until late in the night Maxim "sat down on [a] bench" (46). This less active motion, and the fact that Maxim is waiting until early in the morning, suggests that although he still didn't see the servant was disregarding him, he is becoming less and less excited about Pechorin as he is not coming out to see him. Another example revealing Maxim's lack of understanding and failing enthusiasm is when Maxim finally goes inside and he "threw his pipe on the table, paced up and down the room, tinkered with the stove" and "tossed and turned for a long time" (47). The actions are consistent with someone who has something that is bothering them. In this section, Maxim continues to romanticize Pechorin, despite the obvert signs of disinterest from Pechorin. Once again Maxim becomes excited when he finally meets Pechorin, he is enthusiastic about reigniting their past relationship. The second chance Maxim is giving Pechorin reveals societies tendency to reject the truth and idolize even in the face of cruelty. ...read more.

Conclusion

This action is Maxim's last defense against the flood of obvert evidence suggesting Pechorin is not a heroic romantic. He is turning away from reality because his blind idolization was his reality, and the truth hurts. Long after Pechorin left Maxim "still stood there" (51) suggesting through the lack of any motion that he finally does not revere Pechorin anymore because he sees what his idolization did not let him see. When they got back to their room Maxim was "not getting ready to leave" (52) what he was supposed to be. Earlier he was pacing frantically while waiting for Pechorin to show up. This contrast between frantic dynamic motion and inactivity reveals that Maxim has abandoned Pechorin because he sees that their was not mutual affection between the two. The last optimism circuit shows us that Maxim has come to terms with Pechorin and that he finally sees reality. At first in Maxim Maximych, Maxim is very optimistic about meeting his dear friend and shows his optimism through lively dynamic actions. As the chapter progresses he goes through cycles of waxing and waning optimism which results in increased and decrease physical movement. When Pechorin literally shuts the door on his face, Maxim sees that all along Pechorin was not the romantic hero he always had idolized him to be. Word Count: 1258 ...read more.

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