• 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?

    They also show how Stalin desperately wanted to put himself in absolute power. His lust for power at the expense of others is another factor I could say made him a monster. Source L tells us the opinion that Stalin was a skilled politician yet had a darker side to his nature.

  2. Stalin Man or Monster

    the reader to sympathise and understand that he has been through an unpleasant life. He goes on to say that when 30 men went to the river to carry out a timber and returned with just 29. It is important to note that he uses the word 'comrade', this is a communist word for brother.

  1. Stalin man or monster

    dates before 1930's where public opinion of Stalin was better then the 1930's, therefore it wouldn't be reliable to use that source. The second similarity is that the credibility of all three sources can be disputed as they are produced in different countries Source A being in France, which was

  2. Stereotypes - The Russian Character.

    Their thinking is not orderly, logical. In Western culture emotion is considered to be on a lower level than reason. In Russia the situation is quite different. It is bad to be rational, to be smart, clever, intelligent and so on. And to be emotional, warm, lovable and spiritual (in the full meaning of that word)

  1. Stalin: Man or monster?

    I would also distrust source E as the majority of Russians would not have benefited from increased standards of living. 4) Khrushchev is being anti-Stalin. The official Communist view of the purges backs up Khrushchev's reasons for the terror used by Stalin.

  2. Stalin: Man or Monster?

    Study source D. Does this source provide any useful evidence about Stalin? Explain your answer. Source D is a potentially totally bias source as it is written and justified by Stalin. There are no witnesses or evidence to show it is true, although this source is more a metaphor

  1. 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.

  2. Russia's sense of uniqueness

    * 1908- arrested! Trotsky stays in exile in New York Stalin stays in Siberia (unpleasant, jealous of T) * 1911 - released goes to Petrograd- expelled. * 1912- 1 of the 6 of the central committee that help find party news paper- 'Pravda (Truth)

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