Here’s another thing I love about Gogol: in the scene with the dirty, miserly old man, Gogol compares a glimmer of hope on the man’s face with that of a drowning man. Gogol then describes how it is with a person who is drowning when they come up for what will be their final breath before that pair of hands go under the waves.
That’s how Gogol handles the comparison and it’s brilliant. Morbid? Yes. But brilliant.