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Heart of a Dog - Mikhail Bulgakov, 1925

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  1. Sharik the dog
  2. Freedom in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century
  3. The Russian government and the media
  4. Bulgakov's critics of the Russian society

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. [...]


[...] Allow me to lick your boot? (Bulgakov 10). This is an excellent example of Sharik being extremely submissive, and this trend continues as the story progresses. The mindset of this dog as it relates to Philippovich is similar to the mindset of a Russian citizen and his or her government. A citizen living in Russia during this time would most likely have been pro-revolution, pro-Communist, and this citizen would be likely to believe the in Russian government and support it for whatever reason. [...]

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