I consider Poor Folk to be an extremely interesting story. First, I consider it incredibly useful because it provides us with the necessary framework in understanding Doestoevsky's later work. Doestoevsky's chosen topic (a civil servant's experiences), as well as the style (epistolary, with bouts of 1st person narrative) in which the story was written, clearly spells out a Gogolian influence. This influence however, slowly becomes more and more subtle as his own style envelops. But to see the early stages of his writing, allows readers like myself to better understand the complexity that is about to unfold, and simoultaneously allows us to reflect to what extent his later style continues to carry Gogolian undertones.
And second, I consider it incredibly innovative. Yes, Doestoevsky makes extensive use of earlier styles (like Gogol's), but to the trained eye his writing carries so much more. The author of Poor Folk (although a bit non-existent) is preoccupied with the two main characters in a way that the author in The Overcoat would never have involved himself/herself. This is a big difference! This defined relationship places Doestoevsky in a different style of writing. Doestoevsky also makes use of the current events and writing trends of that period in a very different way. An avid reader and a man involved in social activities (unlike Gogol on so many levels), Dostoevsky makes use of Gogol's writing, but in the end arrives at a place that we can consider is his own. With time, his genius fully unfolds and one can clearly see that although Gogol had a great influence, he was in the end one of the many influences that made Dostoevsky's writing so much more complex and engaging.