• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Madness in Russian Literature

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

St. Petersburg Pushkin to Putin Dr. Andrew Sloin 24 February 2009 Essay: Madness in St. Petersburg Within Russian literature the theme of madness is central to many famous pieces. Works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol and Aleksandr Pushkin all discuss the issue of madness. This theme of madness stems from the large separation between the classes in St. Petersburg. All of the main characters in these stories hold positions that are the lowest possible within the social order of Russia. Their madness stems from a lack of freedom. The root cause of the epidemic of insanity is lack of freedom among the peasant class. One of Pushkin's most famous works, "The Bronze Horseman", tells a story of Eugene, a civil servant from the poor city of Kolomna. As a civil servant Eugene goes unnoticed. This demonstrates the unimportance of his position is within society. Eugene is engaged, but has no prospects of becoming a person of any importance. He envies the "men of leisure" who are "endowed with luck ... not with brains" (135). His discouraging situation gets worse after a storm ravages the city of St. Petersburg. As a result, Eugene looses his house and his fianc´┐Ż, but most importantly he looses his mind. ...read more.

Middle

Pirogov is at first furious and determined to seek revenge, but calms down by eating puff pastries, reading a newspaper and spending an evening dancing. This story presents two characters who differ in one important aspect; they are from two very different social standings. The outcome of their situations is a result of the social framework that they exist in. Lieutenant Pirogov was a man respected in St. Petersburg society. He had choices and a sense of freedom and when he was beaten up and lost the woman he was in pursuit of he was able to move one because he did not have as much vested in the relationship. He knew that he had a future and that he would find another woman. Piskarev the painter wasan outcast, "(he) belonged to a class which represents quite a strange phenomenon... (he) belonged as much to the citizens of Petersburg as a person who comes in a dream belongs to the real world" (252). He may have been unusual but it was not his strangeness that resulted in madness, it was the social position he could not escape from. Because he was so low within the socioeconomic framework of St. ...read more.

Conclusion

After looking at each situation, it is necessary to redefine what madness is within the context of these stories. None of these characters actually lost their mind because they were mental, they were slowly broken down by St. Petersburg's social structure. All of the characters were not mad because they were all right, in a way they were very much in touch with reality. They did not deny their position, they saw that the circumstances were not fair; they simply could not do anything to change them. Instead of denying their status, they accepted their fate and realized there was no reason why they should remain helpless. For these reasons these characters should not be labeled as mad. Rather their behavior was mad relative to those outsiders who did not understand the flaw in the social structure. In all three works the theme of madness is fundamental. However, madness is not individual but rather a social phenomenon, which results from the separation between the classes in St. Petersburg. The three authors point out how St. Petersburgwithholds freedom, leaving each character unable to escape their position in society. It is only when all hope is gone that madness takes over. These stories foreshadow the restructuring of the social framework that would take over in the form of communism. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. Stalin Man or Monster

    Bukharin's main concern here is to reveal Stalin as an evil man, and therefore this source is biased. Sources E and F both give a strong view on Stalin's character. However, there is a huge contrast between them. In source E the impression of Stalin that the writer gives is

  2. Stalin man or monster

    However the main difference between these sources is who they were written by, as all were written by extremist opinions from either side (source A is by France trying to deter countries away from communism in any way possible and source B and C by the USSR who clearly wanted to persuade people of the happiness in communist life)

  1. The blance sheet for russia.

    Far from it. The Bolsheviks were forced to retreat because of the potentially dangerous situation that arose from the opposition of the peasantry. Tambov and Kronstadt - and other uprisings in the rural areas - were only part of this.

  2. Stalin: Man or monster?

    3) Neither of these sources is completely reliable. Source E is part of a speech written by a writer to the congress of Soviets in 1935. It was published in the communist party paper. This means that is very likely to be supporting Stalin due to the strict censoring of critical propaganda.

  1. Stalin: Man Or Monster?

    Given what we know of Stalin it seems unlikely he really cared about one death. However whether the source tells us a true story or not is unimportant. The source is useful because it tells us about Stalin and the ways he tried to present himself to others.

  2. Stalin: Man or Monster?

    The first thing I noticed about this cartoon is the clothes the workers are wearing and the clothes Stalin is wearing. Stalin wearing white seems to stick out in the picture possibly showing his importance, almost liken an Angel. The fact that he is standing beside this new power station

  1. Stalin- Man or Monster?

    Therefore, the image of the workers being rewarded for their work totally contradicts the reality of what was happening. Source C is very similar to source B. it shows a photograph of Stalin congratulating wives of army officers. The women obviously look up to Stalin, thinking he is wonderful and are all trying to touch him.

  2. Stalin: Man or Monster?

    . However many opposed Stalin and his policies. The source is a photograph, which gives the impression that it is a reliable source. However this isn't true, Stalin could have had the photograph doctored or had people pose and claimed it was showing something it wasn't. The sources give very different impressions of Stalin.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work