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Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Pechorin says so many things, some clever, some true, some troubling, but is he honest with himself? Choose one of your favorite lines from his diary and comment on it as reflected in Pechorin and its relevance to today.

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A Hero of (Y)our Times?

There is a youthful energy to this text that is really a series of five stories bundled together into a whole that some call a marvelous psychological novel. What do we learn about Pechorin in each section as we see him through three sets of eyes (Maksim’s, the narrator’s, and his own)? Is he heroic, […]

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“The Queen of Spades”

This is a complex tale that has spawned a Chaikovsky opera (sometimes know even in English under the French title Pique Dame] and several films. The inclusion of the card game (faro) opens a whole new world of associations. You will find several useful and entertaining  links below, but at the end of the day […]

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Are we seeing a repeat of Poor Liza in poor Dunya? Is she poor or pure? Who is innocent or guilty in this story? How do the pictures of the Prodigal Son inform us? Why are the inscriptions in German? As for the final story of Belkin’s Tales, what is Pushkin trying to accomplish? And […]

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“But let us return to the worthy proprietors of Nenaradova, and see what is happening there. Nothing.” More than once our assumptions and expectations are proven incorrect as the narratives unfold. The narratives themselves are also collections, like little Russian nested dolls, matryoshkas, where one story is embedded in side of another. Pushkin also treats […]

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Karamzin’s “Poor Liza”

This story is most often characterized as “sentimentalism.” The author intends to evoke a strong emotional response to his characters and narrative. At some level we as readers are to enjoy this evocation of sentiment. You may answer anyone of these questions, but be sure to read the responses that predate your own. 1) How […]

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