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Oblomov and Stolz: image comparison

In the literature literature authors often use the method of antithesis. It consists in contrasting the characters as carriers of certain ideas and philosophies of life. Most often, a writer or a poet in this way means his own worldview, gently hinting at the reader's sympathy for one or another character.

Antagonists and protagonists

Modern writers most often adhere to the generally accepted format, according to which every positive character (protagonist) has a mirror negative reflection in the person of the antagonist. This simplification makes the work more accessible to the understanding of the mass reader, but the schematization also has a significant defect: people who are completely nasty or pleasant in all respects are extremely rare in life, and if you look closely, never. Much more difficult, and therefore more interesting is the case in the novel IA Goncharov. Comparison of Oblomov and Stolz at first glance leads to an unambiguous rejection of useless contemplative laziness, but as the disclosure of images increasingly makes the reader think about the fate and personal qualities of the two characters. And it turns out that everything is not so simple.

Stolz as a representative of progressive capitalism

As is clear by the surname, Andryusha Stolz was born into a family of Russified Germans. Pointing to this, Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov expresses the generally accepted opinion (which, by the way, exists to this day) that foreigners from Europe are playing the role of carriers of technical, philosophical and other progress in our country.

Earlier in Russia, Germans called everyone, regardless of nationality, visitors from the West. But it is clear that the ancestors of Andrew come from the German lands. About his mother, almost nothing is known, except that she is a Russian noblewoman. Since childhood, boys have different life. Oblomov and Stolz are brought up in different ways. A German father seeks to cultivate a worthy change. He wants his son to be like him. This is a normal desire of almost all fathers, nothing surprising in that. He inspires that success is achieved by work. This important life principle (known, by the way, not only to the Germans) makes it necessary to exercise strictness and exactingness. The father does not just love his son, he teaches him everything that he knows and knows himself. It is commendable, such a parent could serve as a universal example, but the whole point is that there are subjects for the comprehension of which textbooks are not written. And here are two antipodes, Oblomov and Stolz. Comparison of an active German and a lazy Russian is a favorite topic for jokes, and in both countries. We are fond of sneering at our own stupidity, and in Germany we are pleased to focus on positive features of the national character.


Comparison of Stolz and Oblomov will not be objective, if we do not take into account the characteristics of the children's upbringing of the two boys. If Andrew always kept his father in suspense and taught everything he could, then Ilyusha, on the contrary, spent his youth in blissful relaxation. This fact alone brings a serious blow to the theory of a special German business, so respected by our "Westerners" of all eras. It is possible that genetic nature would prevail, but it is highly likely that, having received such upbringing, Andrei would grow up to be a loafer. The desire for activity is developed in problematic conditions, this is known to every psychologist. Therefore, a wise educator, even in conditions of cloudless childhood, creates "educational" conflict situations in order to develop a strong character among representatives of the younger generation. If everything is still good, then the effort to apply to anything, and the will atrophy. Nevertheless, Ilya Ilich Oblomov also has good character traits. He is kind and wise in his own way, vanity and pride are alien to him, he has quite a clear understanding of his place in life, that is, a correct self-esteem.


There are many oddities in our life. The illustration of this thought in Goncharov's novel can be the friendship of Stolz and Oblomov. Antipodes are attracted both in physical phenomena and in life circumstances. Each of the heroes of the narrative is looking for something in their companion that he himself lacks. In the meantime, Ilya Ilyich in some way would like to be like Andrei Ivanovich, although not in everything. Yes, and Stolz sympathetic romantic sentimentality (by the way, one of the national German traits) of his comrade. A realist who is afraid to dream and think in a straightforward and concrete way often lacks the imagination to achieve true success. In addition, having succeeded in business, having achieved a high social status, another person catches himself thinking that he has not found happiness. But it is in him the meaning of everyone's life. And is Oblomov happy? A comparison of Stolz and Oblomov suggests that each of the characters has big life problems, which they themselves sometimes do not even think about.

Behavioral algorithms

A person is known when he has serious problems. Quite differently react to changes in the circumstances of life Oblomov and Stolz. Comparison of the behavioral manner of the two comrades allows one to assess the degree of paternal care shown by the German Ivan (Johann?) In relation to the son during his upbringing. In adolescence, the boy received a lot of useful knowledge about the world around him. But, for all their systematic nature, they were more like a set of options for action, chosen from the arsenal just as a housekeeper finds the right key in a bundle. In the century of the events described, perhaps this approach justified itself, because Stolz managed to become a successful businessman and succeed. In addition, the nature of the relationship between Oblomov and Stolz is also of interest. Their friendship from childhood was built on the recognition of the supremacy of Andrew.

As for Oblomov, the algorithm of his behavior was reduced to minimizing anxieties and unrest. He did not want to teach anyone, but he did not want to learn anything either. Being an educated man, he doubted the usefulness of the knowledge he had gained, rightly believing that in his way of life they did not need him.

Women and heroes

Lying on the couch, it is difficult to enjoy success with the ladies. This statement is unlikely to be questioned, but fate gave a chance to Ilya Ilyich, whose favorite pastime was precisely this occupation. Olga Ilyinskaya, young and beautiful, despite the many absurdities of Oblomov's behavior (and perhaps because of them, who understands the woman's soul?) Fell in love with the unlucky hero. Young and attractive to Andrei Andrey Ivanovich, who at first did not attach importance to this rivalry, but, having felt his reality, he was able to turn the situation in his favor. Comparing Oblomov and Stolz in the context of human decency will not be in favor of the latter, but in love, as in war, all means are good. So, at least, Europeans consider, especially the French. The indecision of Ivan Ilyich, as usual, worked against him. Oblomov found his happiness with another woman, probably more suitable for him, Agafia Pshenitsyna, though not as bright as Olga, but calm and caring.

Difference and similarity

There is a strong opinion that in the person of Oblomov IA Goncharov branded shameful brand laziness, inertia and inertia of the Russian gentry. If we follow this logic, the image of Stolz embodies the progressive aspirations of the nascent Russian capital (after all, in spite of the German surname, he was also a Russian person). It seems, however, that Goncharov wanted to say something more with his novel, and he succeeded. Oblomov and Stolz were not such antipodes . The characteristic given by Ilya Ilyich to "secular pastime" is very caustic and apt. He does not want to sit at the card table, talk about trifles, take an interest in everything. He is inclined to a contemplative attitude to the world around him and is by no means stupid. The similarity between Oblomov and Stolz consists in the desire of both to sleep. Only the first one's dream is quite concrete, physical, and the second one has a moral one. At the same time, Ilya Ilyich realizes the perniciousness of his vice, speaks about it to his friend, recognizing his own powerlessness in the fight against laziness. Andrei Ivanovich is not capable of self-criticism.

Where should Oblomov go?

And what is the difference between Oblomov and Stolz? The comparison seems obvious. One is lying all the time, the other in constant motion. Oblomov does not even want to hear about the claims of creditors, he wants to write some plan for the reconstruction of his own estate, which is falling into decay, but every time he falls asleep without ever starting to do it. Stolz is constantly on the road, mainly abroad. He calls there and his friend, hoping that the atmosphere of distant countries will awaken in that vital activity. Ilya Ilyich is not in a hurry to go somewhere, he and his native country is not bad, especially at a time when something begins to change in his personal life. By the way, both friends are no longer young, they are over thirty (for example, "old man" Karenin had less than 50 years with Tolstoy). Perhaps, and correctly did not want Oblomov to fuss about his old age ...

Who is more useful?

If you consider the novel Goncharov as a work of concept, then it really can be reduced to the opposition of such types as Oblomov and Stolz. Comparison of them in the political economy will reveal a clear superiority of an active and enterprising beginning over a passive-contemplative life position. One all the time in his labors, he makes a fortune, imitating the "yellow man" who gets up at six and exhausts himself with hygienic gymnastics. The second lies and languidly talks about philosophical problems, not caring about the future. For society is more useful Stolz. But can everyone become like him? And is it necessary?

About freedom

Once again having read IA Goncharov's immortal novel and evaluating it from the point of view of the liberal idea that is fashionable in some sections of modern society, one can come to the paradoxical conclusion that it is Oblomov that is the most expressive of "free values". "Westernizer" Stolz and the "yellow man" he respects work to strengthen the economy of his native country, but Oblomov lives by himself, without disturbing anyone, not wanting to take care of the collective good. Well, he was not born a wrestler, what can you do ... He does not like it when he is shaken, even if it is made out of friendly motives. This is a matter of individual freedom, and everyone lives as he wants.

He dies young, judging by the text of the novel, before he reached the age of forty. The ruin of Oblomov was obviously an unhealthy way of life, deliberately chosen by him after parting with Olga. This is also a personal choice, although humanly it is a pity.

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