Short Story Analysis

Topics: Short story, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy Pages: 9 (3024 words) Published: August 21, 2012

Leo Tolstoy, one of the world's greatest writers, is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s in Russia, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.

His moralistic principles had been evident in his writings especially in his short stories. It had awaken the ethical standards of late Russia into a more monotheistic nation. Stories like “God Sees the Truth, But Waits”, “The Three Questions” and “What Men Live By” have deep-rooted principles that are trying to tell everyone how to live a good life. This study will try to analyze Tolstoy’s stories like God Sees the Truth but Waits, a story of a merchant Aksionov who was accused of murder and suffered a life sentence even if he is not liable for it; “The Three Questions” a story of a king who was puzzled by three questions and only the poor hermit was able to answer it with sense; and the last is What Men Lived By which discussed the story of a poor shoemaker, Simon and a fallen angel, Michael and their quest to answer the questions of what men lived by.

Leo Tolstoy was one of the great rebels of all time, a man who during a long and stormy life was at odds with Church, government, literary tradition, and his own family. Yet he was a conservative, obsessed by the idea of God in an age of scientific positivism. He brought the art of the realistic novel to its highest development. Tolstoy's brooding concern for death made him one of the precursors of existentialism. Yet the bustling spirit that animates his novels conveys, perhaps, more of life than life itself.


The purpose of this study is to analyze the similarities among elements of Leo Tolstoy’s work such as “God Sees the Truth, But Waits”, “The Three Questions” and “What Men Live By”. The analysis of such will bring about the realization of what the stories suggest.

1. What are the common themes conveyed in Tolstoy’s stories?
2. What are the parallel connections of the three stories in terms of the tone, atmosphere and style?
3. What are the deep-seated evidences of why Leo Tolstoy writes stories in a unique manner?


This study will try to discuss three of Leo Tolstoy’s short stories: “God Sees the Truth, But Waits”, “The Three Questions” and “What Men Live By”, focusing only on the similar themes, tone, point of view and style that Tolstoy’s used in the stories. It will also include the plot of the stories for a better review, conferring to some proof about Leo Tolstoy and his way of writing.

Other than that will not be part of this analysis. Characterization and character analysis will be out of the context as well as the settings


The Analysis of Leo Tolstoy’s work will bring about a deeper perspective of his work and style. Because of this, it can be a reference to other students who want to know what his stories suggest. This study will correct some of the misconceptions about the hostility of his work.

Furthermore, it will also be a guide to the readers of how they are going to read Tolstoy’s work without further subjectivity.


A. Plots

1. God Sees the Truth, but Waits
In the town of Vladimir, lived a young merchant named Ivan Dmitri Aksionov and lived with his family together. One summer, he planned to go to Nizhny fair and he bided goodbye, his wife warned him that she had a bad dream for her husband-- she dreamt about Ivan that he returned from the town with hair of grey. But then, Ivan laughed as if he doesn't care.And again, he baded goodbye. He travelled half way and met a merchant, there they put up at the same inn and slept. After a while he rose up for it wasn't his habit to sleep late and continued his journey. Then suddenly, along the...
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