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Father Sergius

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(1873)

Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude


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Father Sergius --- a theme of PRIDE

I haven't read " Father Sergius " in a long time, so I don't remember all the details, but I remember that it was a beautiful and almost poetical work dealing with pride and the difficulty of suppressing or eradicating it in human nature. Father Sergius, as a man who dedicated his life to God, is always struggling with his pride, and yet, paradoxically, it's that same pride and the desire to impress others that motivates him in his moral strivings. It's interesting that it's already near the end of his journey when he meets his most charitable and selfless cousin Pashenka that he comes to a painful and tragic realization of what living for God really means : he realizes that Pashenka lives for God, thinking that she's living for men, whereas he really lived for men, thinking that he was living for God. And even afterwards when he's begging for alms, he's still proudly aware of his humbled state---so that his pride never leaves him. He's actually quite a bit like Prince Andrey who eventually dedicates his life to his men and his regiment thus desinvesting himself of selfishness and pride; however, it still remains with him, as when he refuses to throw himself on the ground when facing a shell because he does not want to create an impression of cowardice and thus loses his life : his pride remains a dominating force in his make-up to the very end.

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