RUSS 110 Text Final

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“Yermolay and the Miller’s Wife”

Yermolay and thge Miller's Wife was a story by Ivan Turgenev in the early 1850s. it was published near the end of Nicholas I's reign so reform was in the air at the time of this stories publication. these themes of reforms such as the emancipoation of the serfs in 1861 and more womans rights peeked through Turgenevs work. for example the freeness in which the main charater yermolay worked and the more friendly or cordial relationship he had with Turgenev(a nobility) were signs that the emancipation of the serfs were soon to come. another example of hints at reform is when Yermolay  mention how the miller's wife Arina knew how to read and write alluding to reforms that had to do with women getting more educational oppurtunies from the late 1850s to the early 1870s.

“Destiny of Women”

Maria Vernadskaia’s “Destiny of Women” written in the late 1850s after Nicholas I’s death in 1855. through Vernadskaia’s work you can see glimpses of the start of reforms for woman education and rights that spanned from the late 1850s to early 1870s. She mentions the differences or more the lack there of difference between men and woman, advocating for the rights of equality between mand and woman.

“A meek Woman”

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “A Meek Woman” was published in 1876 at the tail end of the reforms for woman’s rights. in his work you can see hints of his Slavophil as he makes constant remarks about the education of the wife in the story and how she was educated. at first it seems as though he is advocating for woman’s rights and just being satirical however when reading more into the story that thought is shortly squashed as he objectifies the wife and makes her seem like a weak or meek woman that can’t do anything but mope around. alluding to his wish for the old ways of Russia to come back and these reforms to stop.


Anton Chekhov’s “Misery” was a written in 1886. this story of a lonely sled driver who just lost his son. this story highlights the social dynamic between lower class/peasants and the higher class. the blatant in equality between the two as the man works hard to make ends meet after his son dies and has no one to talk to about it and still gets reprimanded just because he is lower class. it highlight the times during the counter reforms by Alexander III when he made reforms to reduce the political power and rights of peasants.


Anton Chekhov’s “Sleepy” was a written in 1888. this story follows a peasant girl named Varka that worked for a boot maker and babysat their infant son. she was forced to work all day running errands and doing chores then at night take care of the boot maker’s son. this resulted in restless nights which wasn’t good for a 13 year old girl it got so bad that she couldn’t take it anymore and shook the infant till he died deeming that the baby was the root of her unrest and then she collapsed into slumber. this part of the story could be interpreted as the higher class being the root of the peasantry’s unrest and struggles during the time of Alexander III and Nicholas II’s reign and the counter reform

“Alyosha the Pot”

Lev Tolstoy’s short story “Alyosha the Pot” was written in 1905. this was written around the time of Bloody Sunday which can be alluded to as Alyosha was an over worked worker that faces many trials and tribulations however just when he was about to find happiness he dies. which connects to Bloody Sunday as the children and workers that died wanted to get reforms to labor, tax and education.

“The People and the Intelligentsia”

Aleksander Blok’s “The People and the Intelligentsia” was written in 1908. in Mark Raeff’s words this work was about the "dominant preoccupation of the Russian intelligentsia" and the alienation they felt from the people. Although they yearned to bridge the gap between themselves and the lower class, they ultimately realized that it would never be conceivable at the start of the 20th century.

“Moonshine Lake”

in Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Moonshine Lake” written in 1923. is a story that follows a man that lives in a communal apartment. this story highly alludes to the lives people lived during the surge of rural migrants to the city and how the cities infostructure couldn’t adjust to the rapid increase of citizens in 1925 as Russia faced a heavy industrialization expansion. these led to the communal apartments that the main character is seen in.

“Nine Girls”

Sergei Tretyakov’s story “Nine Girls” was written in 1935. this story follows Pasha Angelina the leader of a all female tracker brigade during the time of collectivization and Stakhanovism where farms were now owned by the government and laborers at the time such as Pasha attained record levels of production. this story highlights on the sex-based social climate in Soviet Russia in the 1930s as it was the start of female employment as it showcases a woman doing hard labor that was originally only seen as a mans job. it is drastically different from say “Poor Liza” in terms of how woman are depicted.

“Cloud, Castle, Lake”

Vladimir Nabokov’s “Cloud, Castle, Lake” was written in 1937 a little over a decade before Stalin’s death in 1953. this story follows Vasiliy Ivanovich as he is on a joint trip to the countryside of Germany. he is immediately shown as the black sheep of the group as they mock what he decided to bring for food. in addition to this this story shows what opposition to Stalinism or more eccentric people faced violence and mistreatment on a regular basis. I say this because how Vasilliy gets beaten up and dragged back to Berlin when he says he wanted to stay at the house next to the lake.

"Life and Fate"

Vasily Grossman’s novel "Life and Fate" was originally written in 1960 during the end of the Thaws in Russia but was officially published in 1980. this story follows an old Bolshevik, Mostovskoi as he’s being interrogated during his term in a Nazi prison camp by SS officer Liss. this novel follows the social realist format as it tells the story of Mostovskoi. in addition to that is ties in the act of samizdat as that is the only reason it was able to be published as the original transcript was confiscated by the government.

"Queen of Spades''

Liudmila Ulitskaia's story "Queen of Spades'' was written in 2002 not to be confused with Pushkin’s “Queen of spades” from 1834. this story showed the change of the female role in society as it showcases the main characters mother Mour as a intelligent, powerful, and someone that engaged in sexual escapades—the exact opposite of how women have been portrayed so far in this semester's texts. She gave off the impression of a modern-day villain because of how outspoken she was about her sexual desires and how much influence she wielded when she spoke. Mour was described more like what other Russian stories would've portrayed a man as. She wasn't your typical pitiful, uneducated woman who was meek.