The Last Word (Kuprin)

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The Last Word
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man killed his tormentor, who constantly ruined his life and experiences, after being lied to about a seat on a train. He expressed no remorse for his actions.

A man confessed to killing another man, stating that he did it deliberately and without regret. He explained that the victim had been tormenting him for years, taking on various forms and disguises, but always remaining the same person underneath. The man described how the victim would constantly interrupt his work, invade his personal space, and ruin his enjoyment of art, music, and literature. The victim's presence was so pervasive that the man could not escape him, even in the most remote and secluded places.

The Narrator — narrator; tormented by the Russian intelligent; vengeful, determined.

The man eventually realized that the victim was not a single person, but rather a representation of the Russian intelligentsia. The victim's constant presence and interference in the man's life had driven him to the brink of madness, and he knew that one of them had to go. He had been waiting for the right moment to strike, knowing that it would be a small incident that would finally push him over the edge.

I killed him soberly, conscientiously, coldly, without the least regret, fear or hesitation. Were it in your power to resurrect him, I would repeat my crime.

The incident occurred on a crowded train, where the victim, dressed as a pedagogue, lied about a seat being taken in order to prevent the man from sitting down.

The Russian Intelligent — persecutor of the narrator; omnipresent, annoying, and destructive.

The man confronted the victim about his lie, but the victim only became defensive and threatened to report him to the authorities. The man then took out a revolver and shot the victim in the head, killing him instantly.

Say your prayers.

The man did not feel any remorse for his actions, but he was haunted by the fact that the victim had a son. He worried that the son would grow up to be just like his father, continuing the cycle of torment and ultimately leading to more violence.