An Analysis of the Perceived Heroism of a Superfluous Man

In A Hero of our Time A Hero of our Time by Mikhail Lowermost Is a display of Allurement’s perception of Russian society. It focuses around Pectoral, a member of the upper class. Prior to writing the novel, the author had some problems with the government of Russia (members of the upper class) regarding his hero, Alexander Pushpin. Since this, his respect for the upper class was diminished. Lowermost uses the attitudes of other characters towards Phosphoric to display how the lower class unjustly perceives the upper class as heroes, while the middle class sees them for what they are.

The first member of Russian society met in the novel, Maxim Maximize, belongs to the lower class. His descriptions of Phosphoric in the story of “Bella” are of fascination and admiration. He calls him “a grand fellow,m and recognizes his wealth, due to “the number of expensive things he had'” (Lowermost, 11). His interpretation of Pectoral Is that of a hero, or at least a great man. His view of Bishopric’s harsh personality Is masked by the rank of Pectoral In society. Since he is of a higher status and flatting In the military, Maxim Ignores his negative behavior.

Later In the novel In Maxim Maximally”, Maxim Is delighted to find out that Pectoral has arrived where he and the traveling officer were staying. He tells the servant that “‘[He] was a friend of [the servant’s master],’ giving the servant a friendly slap on the shoulder” (45). His interpretation of Bishopric’s behavior is still blinded by the status of the man that he served with. This continues until Bishopric’s avoidance of the two men and their encounter with him as he sets off. Maxim’s attempt to hug his so-called friend as Phosphoric “rather coldly held out his hand”, although as a cancellation prize “he gave IM a friendly smile” (49).

Phosphoric is utterly unemotional at the meeting with Maxim, and never once references him as a friend as Maxim does him. He does not care for the lower class soldier. He states that he has “not really changed” (51), which implies that his behavior remains as It was when he and Maxim were soldiers together. He realizes that the upper class Is “too stuck-up'” and when the use of a man ends, they will not “as much as offer [their] hand” (53). Scorned by Packhorse’s behavior, Maxim now sees the true nature of the man of the upper class, his near worship of this man dissipated.

Another man that seems a mix lower and middle class that Phosphoric meets with dislikes him. A younger man than Maxim, Grouchiness sees some of Bishopric’s true self and fakes a friendship with him. Phosphoric has “seen through him, and that’s why [Grouchiness] dislikes [him]'” (73). He has seen some of the negative qualities of the superfluous man. His outward dislike for this man would not be welcomed, as in this society the upper class seem heroic to those who do not bother to read into the nature of them.

Garrulously has not read Into the nature, but rather had It displayed to him by Pectoral himself. This could also explain the reasoning behind the fake friendship. Since he does not see the full picture of Pectoral;s cynicism, he does not outright deny him conversation or talk negatively of him. He is not far from hatred, A member of the middle class that Phosphoric barely has any interaction with sees his nature and Judges him not as a hero but for what he is within the short time of their meeting.

The unnamed traveling officer bases his Judgments on appearance more so than actions. Within the first description, the officer mentions that Phosphoric has a “slightly turned-up nose” (48), which hints at Bishopric’s attitude and nature. The upper class view themselves often as better than others, and Lowermost points this out with this observation. The officer also notices that Bishopric’s eyes “never laughed when he laughed” and often signs “of an evil nature or of a profound and lasting sorrow” (49). Both of these situations are true to Phosphoric.

Many perceive the cynical nature of a superfluous man as evil, understandingly so with Bishopric’s actions. The sorrow could either be due to his never ending boredom or his lost love with Bella. Either way, the interpretation by the officer is spot on. The officer admits hat his interpretation may have been due to his previous understanding of Bishopric’s life and that “possibly he would have made an entirely different impression on someone else” (49). This case is true with Maxim and others of the lower class who have the utmost respect for those of a higher stature.

The traveling officer outright states his opinion of Bishopric’s character “in the title of [the] book” (56). Many regard a man full of cynicism and boiling over with flaws as a hero due to their lack of analysis. They view him as someone natural to receive respect, simply due to his rank or status. The traveling officer sees deeper than rank or reveille, and realizes the true nature of the beast. Phosphoric himself provides evidence that he should not be regarded as a hero. In his Journals he criticizes himself and displays many of his flaws that others fail to recognize.

He states that he “saw’s born with a passion for contradiction'” (77). Basically he loves to declare what others say or do as wrong. This trait of a superfluous man would not be given to some actual hero, but rather the villain that the hero defeats. He also states that he “Elis] incapable of friendship'” (79). A hero would be able to care for others and befriend them, especially other heroes. In the evolve though, Phosphoric seems to form no friendships with others in the upper class. Even the few relationships he has falter and fall apart for one reason or another.

He grew apart from Bella, Vera gained a husband, and he pushed Mary away for what seems like no reason. Before Bella even took place, ‘”all [Phosphoric] wanted was to be loved'” (88) instead of loving another. He wants to receive affection without dealing with any of his own. He does not care for a single human being, and only wants to master them. Even when he does complete this, he leaves unhappy and unfulfilled, something that would never happen to a hero. Phosphoric the superfluous man cannot be a hero and admits it himself by admitting his own flaws.

These flaws are what keeps him from being a hero. A man born into privilege basically buys any respect that he receives. His stature becomes the only thing that many people look at to Judge his character, especially with the lower class. In Allurement’s society, it was determined that a hero was one that could achieve nearly anything they wanted, which was what Phosphoric could do. The different character’s attitudes towards Phosphoric display the type of worship that could be given to those of the upper class by the lower and the type of analysis