Formative_essay.docx - In what ways do sosloviia(social estates form the basis of Russian identity in the texts you have studied for this topic One or

Formative_essay.docx - In what ways do sosloviia(social...

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In what ways do sosloviia (social estates) form the basis of Russian identity in the texts you have studied for this topic? One or two texts This essay sets out to look through Leskov’s 1865 novella “Ledi Makbet Mtsenskogo uezda” to see how Russian identity was formed by social estate structure in this text. I will argue that some of the stereotypes about social estates were projected into literature. Patriarchy, traditional family model, customs, rules and restrictions were written into the narrative and formed the lives of the characters. Sosloviia (social estates) had a strong influence on the novella, since if the main character belonged to another class – the storyline could change its direction completely. Taking into account that the novella was written almost 150 years ago, there is abundance of criticism on Leskov’s work with extremely diverse opinions, but notwithstanding that fact, all critics agree that Katerina L’vovna was one of the brightest woman characters in Russian literature back in XIX century. Dobroliuvoc claims: “О Катерине Измайловой можно было бы сказать, что она не луч солнца, падающий в темноту, а молния, порождённая самим мраком и лишь ярче подчёркивающая непроглядную темень купеческого быта” (“It would be possible to say about Katerina Izmaylova that she is not a ray of the sun falling in the darkness, but lightning generated by the darkness itself and only more clearly emphasizes the impenetrable darkness of the merchant life”) [3]. Boris Eikhenbaum and Pavel Gromov described her character as “бытовой шаблон, но шаблон, прочерченный до того густой краской, что он превращается в своеобразный трагический лубок” (“a household pattern, but a pattern drawn to such a thick paint that it turns into a kind of tragic splint”) [2]. Indeed, her character is stuck in traditional picture of merchantry wife, even though she is an outstanding person. In order to look deeper into the character we need to distinguish what sosloviia was in Russian XIX century. Katerina L’vovna was a wife of wealthy merchant (kupets). Kupechestvo as all other social estates used to form and frame lives of people, who were the part of that estate. Russian social estates in XIX century were more of a destiny: one could not choose it and could not change it. If a person was born a peasant – most likely s/he would die a peasant, the same as their ancestors and descendants. Table of ranks 1 was the only document that was regulating people’s lives. Likewise, Social lifts usually did not work at all, and if they did – they worked poorly. All of these aspects lead to the only possible consequence – stagnation in social estates, hence strong feeling of belonging to the estate.
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  • Spring '16
  • Chechov

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