Heart of a Dog, Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian society, Russian way of life, Sharikov, Sharik
In "Heart of a Dog" by Mikhail Bulgakov, we are presented with a satire of Russian society in the early 20th century. In the story, a Russian dog is transformed into a human through a serious of surgeries, and with a "dog's mindset", this individual is able to thrive in a corrupt Russian society. One of the main purposes of this novel was to discredit the Russian public and demonstrate their inability to see truth and gain real intelligence about the world around them. Like dogs, many Russian people living during this time simply believed in everything the government told them, and they were completely submissive and unable to think on their own. Sharikov, the dog who becomes a man, is the epitome of a narrow-minded Russian citizen who is submissive to his government, cares little for other people, and does not want to see the truth that is right in front of his eyes.
[...] Instead of thinking logically and trying to develop effective solutions, Russian citizens are not able to reason through and fully understand the actions and decisions of their own government, and this makes them significantly more vulnerable to oppression. “Heart of a by Mikhail Bulgakov, is an excellent satire that criticizes the Russian way of life in the early 20th century. By analyzing the transformation of a dog into a man, this novel was able to show the narrow-mindedness and general oblivious state of mind that many Russian people suffered from. [...]
[...] This is illustrated by a drawing of a violin and my photograph, with the legend, ‘Prof. Preobrazhensky,' who performed the caesarian operation on the mother” (Bulgakov 59). This story obviously cannot be further from the truth, however Russian people in various parts of the country will be reading this as their news. Bulgakov included this passage because he wanted to show the reader the extent to which the Russian government would go to control the media and ensure that it is lying to the Russian people. [...]
[...] This government convinced their citizens that the Russian government is the greatest government in the world, that Communism can never be defeated, and it misrepresented information to the public in order to suite its own purposes. Given all this information, it is also very important to note the reason why public information was so limited. The Communist regime at this time did not want its citizens to be aware of any international issues, unless of course there was a “pro-Russian spin” on it. News that would in anyway discredit Russia or Communism in general, whether in the form of newspapers, books, or other media sources, would be completely restricted. [...]
[...] During that time in the Soviet Union, freedom was not known by the people, and citizens seemed to be satisfied with what they believed was a more effective, non- democratic system. Bulgakov demonstrates this idea to us through another one of Sharik's thoughts: am a gentleman's dog, an intellectual creature, I've tasted a better life. And what is freedom, anyway? Nothing, a puff of smoke, a mirage, a fiction A sick dream of those wretched democrats” (Bulgakov 48). Here, Sharik finds himself to be an intelligent creature and thinks he is knowledgeable about politics. [...]
[...] A document is the most important thing in the world” (Bulgakov 76). A document proving someone's may be important, however it is far from the most important thing in the world. The Russian region would force one to think otherwise, however, making citizens feel that such a document proves one's loyalty and affiliation and is therefore more important than anything else. In this satire, Bulgakov criticizes Russian society in yet another way. He presents the people as unintelligent and completely unpractical, being unable to deal with a relatively simply household problem. [...]
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