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An Investigation into the Structure of Gogols The PortraitGogols The Portrait is a short story which examined through a formalistic approach can be understood beyond itsobvious storyline and plot Formalism is the literary theory that literature is not simply a mass of words butcomprised of individual words that each may possess a social stereotype a spiritual aspect or convey a physicalresponse in the reader Formalism asserts that the world is full of codes that need to be decoded By investigatingthese codes one can understand the world or in this scenario the literary message better These codes inliterature must appear as defamiliarzied or distorted in literature Everyday aspects of life outside of their averageelement still maintain their same definition but bring that very definition to a different context thus enabling one tosee that original definition in a new light and indeed apply it to elucidate other situations similar or completelydislike to the primary one The Portrait can be completely and logically dissected by formalistic methods I willconcentrate on Part I of this short story solely concerning Chartkov to produce a more concentrated and conciseFormalists took the power of the word to the next level by seeing that the word can be used as a tool to educateand better the masses or for pure propagandist purposes Art according to the formalists not only bearsmeaning it forces an awareness upon the reader This awareness is dependent upon the accepted and expectedproduced images of the words in literature These images transcend time and place images change little fromcentury to century they flow on without changing images belong to no one Thereby in making these familiar images seem strange the reader perceives it in an entirely new way A formalistapproach to the opening of The Portrait entails the storys usage of a semi-immediate exposition as opposed to animmediate exposition Within the latter exposition the author opens by acquainting us with the elements of
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