Tell me that, pray. A strange requirement. I did not resent it, I am a timid man; but here they have actually made me out mad. An artist painted my portrait as it happened: "After all, you are a literary man," he said. I submitted, he exhibited it.
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This is a philosophical story told in the nonsense style to bring to mind several aspects of intellectual thought but in a humorous way. It is essentially the story of the narrator Ivan Ivanovitch, a complacent and multi-tasking writer, who one day spends his time in a cemetery, and crashes onto a conclave of ghosts.
They all are spending the afterlife for a while together and the core idea of this story is the topic of depravity. Hence, this story, especially the latter portion, is all about moral corruption which is coupled with the external corruption of the dead bodies of the spirits or souls that Ivan sees in the cemetery. The story is divided into two parts:. The first part of the story is very much a preparation for the second part. This is the foundation for us for the scene in the cemetery, for only a person who may have lost his mental faculties could see the things Ivan saw and heard that day in the cemetery.
Ivan is a failed author who is ready enough to admit that he is a fool, out of humility. You will notice that the spirits in the cemetery are totally insane. We keep on coming to the topics of insanity, realism, and depravity in this story. The writing style of Ivan is described by critics as:. How true he is to note that all analyses of books, writings, art, etc.
I do know of these That therefore only are reputed wise For saying nothing, when I am very sure If they should speak, would almost damn those ears Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. Hence, a civilian looking to comment on the life of a field marshal, and an educated engineer to comment on philosophy and political economy. He unnaturally lies down in the cemetery on a marble tombstone and then starts hearing voices. On the contrary, thanks to the excellent prose of Dostoevsky, we find the whole situation hilarious.
There are many ghosts mentioned in the cemetery. I note them down for your reference:. As you can see, they are tongue twister names and belong to different social backgrounds in Russian society.
This cacophony of several depraved spirits starts conversing with each other, the new arrivals to the old spirits in the cemetery. This a very stark portrayal, but the other men are even worse. The Philosopher hardly speaks, and if he does, it is to say something without any meaning or relevance to the current situation.
The Lower Court Councilor is suave and practices his manners in social status protocol even in death which Klinevich finds very useless and banal a task. Klinevitch comes out as the main speaker in this crowd of ghosts. The pretentious lady is the clown of the show. Thus, Dostoevsky shows us the reality of Russian nobility and the affluent. It is Klinevitch who suggests the sexual orgy in the first place. The sexual innuendoes in this story are clear and brave for the Russia of the nineteenth-century.
If you are wondering how they all can communicate with each other, it is because of their souls being governed by inertia as well as being concentrated in the consciousness which makes them stuck for some time on the Earth. These depraved souls were never going to change and so they were stuck here in the cemetery attached to their graves. Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.
There is a line where the Councilor tries to justify their depravity by saying that life was so full of suffering and torment where we have so little to make up for it. This is the existential element mentioned in the story along with several others.
The sword of the General is a symbol of the erect penis as well as the symbol of the rich male power in the Russian hierarchy. All talk comes to a standstill once Ivan sneezes, bringing all back to reality. The ghosts stop talking and seem to disappear. Ivan believes in his heart that they are hiding a secret from mortals which he is keen to find out by visiting more cemeteries.
He vows to find something reassuring someday:. A deeper analysis is called for but that is for another time. If you are interested in more book reviews, short story analysis, poems, essays, and other bookish content, then you can check out my blog insaneowl. If you want to buy my books then you can visit my website fizapathanpublishing.
Happy reading to you this weekend! Thank you for this profound detour from the shallow review of other postings which was not easy to interrupt. But so glad that I did. Dostoevsky is eternally contemporary. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly.
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The story is divided into two parts: The literary but wayward life of the failed writer Ivan Ivanovitch. The cemetery episode among the souls of the departed. A parenthesis of a parenthesis. The Lower Court Councilor, Lebeziatnikov. The Shopkeeper. A confused Young Man. Avdotya Ignatyevna, the pretentious lady of high standing. Tarasevitch, the privy councilor. Katchie, a young girl of sixteen years of age. Baron Pyotr Petrovitch also called Klinevitch.
The Philosopher, Platon Nikolaevitch. The Engineer. He vows to find something reassuring someday: To calm his heart for the afterlife. To find material to write about. To find the source and reason for the corruption not only of the human body but also of the human soul. Like this: Like Loading Comments Thank you for this profound detour from the shallow review of other postings which was not easy to interrupt.
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‘Bobok’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky: Short Story Analysis
This is a philosophical story told in the nonsense style to bring to mind several aspects of intellectual thought but in a humorous way. It is essentially the story of the narrator Ivan Ivanovitch, a complacent and multi-tasking writer, who one day spends his time in a cemetery, and crashes onto a conclave of ghosts. They all are spending the afterlife for a while together and the core idea of this story is the topic of depravity. Hence, this story, especially the latter portion, is all about moral corruption which is coupled with the external corruption of the dead bodies of the spirits or souls that Ivan sees in the cemetery.
The title can be translated from the Russian as meaning "little bean," and in the context of the story is taken to be synonymous with gibberish or nonsense. The philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin regarded Bobok as one of the finest works in the literary tradition of Menippean satire , and argues that it encapsulates many of the thematic concerns of Dostoevsky's major novels. The story is framed as an excerpt from the diary of a frustrated writer named Ivan Ivanovitch. One day he attends the funeral of a casual acquaintance and falls to contemplation in the graveyard. He hears the voices of the recently deceased and buried, and he listens to their conversation. They discuss card games and political scandals, and they have decided that the "inertia" of consciousness allows them to converse even while in the grave "for two or three months