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Has Lushkoff become a beggar by circumstance or by choice?
Lushkoff became a beggar by circumstance. Formerly, he sang in a Russian choir, but was sent away for drunkenness. This led him to beg.
What reasons does he give to Sergei for his telling lies?
He told Sergei that he could not get along without lying. If he told the truth, then nobody would give him anything.
Is Lushkoff a willing worker? Why, then, does he agree to chop wood for Sergei?
No, Lushkoff was not a willing worker. In spite of that, he agreed to chop wood for Sergei because of pride and shame. He had been trapped by his own words. His strength had been lowered because of drinking. He was unhealthy and did not feel the slightest inclination to work.
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Sergei says, “I am happy that my words have taken effect.” Why does he say so? Is he right in saying this?
Sergei said so because he gave Lushkoff a push towards the right path. He had caught his lie and had encouraged him to work. He gave him some work and paid him for it. He saw Lushkoff after two years and found out that he was a notary and was paid thirty five roubles a month. He considered his words as the source of Lushkoff’s changed ways. Yes, he was right in saying so. Otherwise Lushkoff would still have been lying and begging.
Lushkoff is earning thirty five roubles a month. How is he obliged to Sergei for this?
Lushkoff was obliged to Sergei because if he had not come to Sergei, then he might still have been calling himself a teacher or a student. He would have been begging. By listening to Sergei, he had changed his ways. He was a notary and earned thirty five roubles a month.
During their conversation Lushkoff reveals that Sergei’s cook, Olga, is responsible for the positive change in him. How has Olga saved Lushkoff?
During their conversation, Lushkoff revealed that Olga saved him. When he went to Sergei’s house to chop wood, Olga began by calling him a ‘miserable creature’ and saying that there was nothing for him but ruin. Then she sat down opposite him, grew sad, looked into his face, and wept. She called him an ‘unlucky man’, ‘a drunkard’, and ‘unhappy one’ and said that there was no pleasure for him in this world. She suffered misery and shed many tears for his sake. Then Lushkoff told Sergei that the main thing was that it was Olga who chopped the wood for him. Lushkoff had not chopped one single stick of wood for Sergei. This was what saved him, changed him, and he had even stopped drinking at the sight of her. It was because of her words and noble deeds that a change took place in his heart. She had set him on the right path.