Emotion versus Reason

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a complex and revolutionary novel of Science fiction. D-503 is a mathematician living in the One State, journaling his daily life in order for future generations to learn about his society once the journal is put on the Integral (the spaceship D-503 is building). As a mathematician D-503 experiences the world in equations, from describing pleasing aesthetics to eventually emotions such as love with math (L=f(D): love is a function of death).… Read the rest here

How Rank Influenced Gogol’s The Overcoat

Gogol_Palto

Gogol’s short story The Overcoat follows an awkward individual named Akaky Akakievich who occupies a low ranking position in the government where he simple copies documents all day. He saves up his money in order to get a new overcoat which is then stolen on his way back from a party. Akaky Akakievich asks for help from several higher level officials who all turn him down. After his death several days later, his ghost comes back and doesn’t leave until he finds and steals a perfectly-sized overcoat from one particularly Important Person who was one of the officials that cruelly rejected him.… Read the rest here

Revolutionary Thought in Russian Literature

To me, the poem “We Grow Out of Iron” by Aleksei Gastev is about the power of the working class of Russia. The poem begins with the subject constructing a building out of iron, but by the middle lines of the poem the subject realizes that his work makes him strong, too. He grows confident and solid in his actions, surprising himself with his own strength and endurance as he shouts to his comrades “may I have the floor?” This echoes the revolution in the early 20th Century, when the wives and mothers began rioting over lack of food and, backed by their factory-working husbands and children, started a movement that would lead to significant change.… Read the rest here

The Cherry Orchard: A Modern Take

Anton Chekhov’s drama The Cherry Orchard focuses on a common motif that is often seen today: the idea of someone “selling out” their land and the environmental vs economic question it presents.  Recently, I watched the movie The Descendants and it’s amusing to see how much the movie, or the author of the book the movie was based on (Kaui Hart Hemmings) consciously or subconsciously borrowed from Chekhov.  Yes, the movie took place in Hawaii and not Russia, and no, there were no fatal boating accidents in The Cherry Orchard.  Read the rest here