A bookish, hardworking, responsible and a person of ethics Alyohin returned back to Sofyino to work like a peasant after his graduation. He could have rather built his career in the field of study he completed in. But no, he returned back and dedicates himself in the field to pay off the debt that his father took for his education. He works so hard in the field that he ensures every area of the field is plowed (ensured that no area of field is unturned). He did all this despite of him not liking to work on the field. He had to sleep on his feet due to tiredness. This is when Alyohin compares himself with the statement presented - “a village cat driven by hunger to eat cucumber in the kitchen garden.”
It is quite significant as he came from a state of luxury and now had nothing. In the same way, his affair with Anna - a married women with a baby and a husband portrays him as a pathetic character. This is because he was never able to confess his love to Anna regardless of him loving her intensely. However, he only expressed his love in the final hour at which point they exchanged few kisses and hugs and then separated from each never to see again. With all the events unfolded, he compares himself as a village cat which is often fed or drinks milk but rather had to settle for cucumber as it’s hungry (desperate) for something to feed itself. He had to leave his luxury life behind and with an education degree as well had to just settle working in the field - making him relate with the statement.
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Question asked by Grandad
Answered by aadarsh_gautam