Russian Literature: 1953-Present


4302 Midterm Questions*

1) Many critics contend that the form and content of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich are consistent with the rules of Socialist Realism. Making reference to the text, give as many arguments as you can both in support and in opposition to the above position.

2) Discuss the religious themes in Moscow to the End of the Line. How does Venichka reconcile his spirituality and his drunkenness? In what ways do the religious themes help us understand the hero's relationship with alcohol?

3) Discuss the theme of the country versus the city in Vasilii Shukshin's short stories.

4) Discuss the female characters in the works that you have read for this course. Are they well developed? Which are better developed? Which are developed more poorly? What role do they play in the works? Is there a substantial difference in the portrayal of men and women in the works you have read?

5) Discuss the theme of alienation in the works you have read for this course. What are the sources of the alienation felt by the characters? How do the various characters deal with their alienation? To what extent do the various works portray alienation as an element of the human condition and to what extent is it seen as something that can be overcome-either through changes in the individual's behavior or through changes in the social order?

6) What role do Westerners and the West play in the works you have read for this course? Describe some of the characters' attitudes toward the West and foreigners. What do they imply were common Soviet attitudes toward foreigners?

7) Discuss the relationships between men and women that are portrayed in the works you have read for this course. What do the characters' interactions with the opposite sex tell us about their personalities? Are interactions between men and women ever used in these works to explore larger questions about the meaning of life?

* Okay, there are really only seven of them, but they are for RUSN 4302.