1. Discuss the theme of the rights and needs of the individual versus the demands of society in at least three of the works you have read for this class. Be specific and support your argument with examples from the works.
2. Discuss the use of humor in the works of at least three different authors that you have read for this course. How effective is humor as an instrument of resistance to oppressive political systems? Why do you suppose Zoshchenko, Kataev, and Ilf and Petrov were permitted to publish their brand of satire long after Bulgakov’s satirical works were deemed inappropriate for publication?
3. A common theme in many of the works that we have read is the relationship between objective reality and the world of fantasy, the supernatural, or madness. Discuss the way this theme is treated in the works you have read this semester. What are some factors that may have contributed to the prevalence of this theme in early Twentieth Century Russian literature?
4. Discuss the portrayal of the changes brought on by the Revolution in the works you have read for this class. Your answer should include, but not be limited to, changes in sex roles, class identity, and daily life.
5. How does the author use his characters to contrast the "old world" and the "new world" in Envy? Are the differences between the "old world" characters and the "new world" characters always clearly defined? Be specific and use examples from the novel.
6. Discuss The Heart of a Dog as an allegory for the revolution. What is the result when Bulgakov's broad allegorical view of the revolution is combined with the view of the revolution that Bulgakov shows us on a more superficial level? Be specific and support your argument with examples from the novel.
7. Compare Invitation to a Beheading's Cincinnatus to Envy's Kavalerov. Pay particular attention to their role as “artists” in relationship to society. Be specific and use examples from the works.