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The Idea of Creating a New Man in “Heart of a Dog”

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    Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog is tale of creative personality who in true essence is noble, yet arrogant creative effort ends if not in tragedy, then at least in moral ambiguity. This is an exceptionally interesting novel in terms of construction, a sci-fi novel. Bulgakov wrote this novel by the end of World War I, end of the revolution and the beginning of a new Russia, and in that era we see some amazing real life experiments going on. They wanted to create a perfect and practical human being like creature, since humans were ill-suited for moving in to future.

    Humans were raging wars, we cannot provide enough food and we consume more, thus there was a problem of hunger at that time. The idea of creating a new man, this is what this novella “Heart of the Dog” is all about. Bulgkov’s in this novella brings out the true face to NEP, the Stalin’s era. The beginning of reanimation experiments that began in 1920s, resumed in 1930s and now used during the time of World War II as western propaganda in 1940s. Soviet government at that time started doing experiments to demonstrate the scientific soviet superiority over the world.

    Tie to homo sovieticus polemic (remember the great soviet men), the soviet government wanted to create a controversy by transforming the “great soviet men” in to a better human being. So the government started the experiment by operating on Dogs. This black comic tale is about a brilliant and creative scientist’s ill fated laboratory experiment that turns a likeable dog in to a hideous “human” creature. The scientist adopts a mongrel dog. The dog Sharik is grateful pet, his life on the street has been hard, he’s been kicked, scalded with hot water and he is starving. The professor feeds him well.

    Sharik started gaining weight and healing up. The scientist brought the dog for his on vicious plan, an experiment that was never done before. He wanted to convert Sharik, a dog in to a Human like creature. We see the results of the professor’s cruel experiment. He wanted to create a perfect creature. A dog gets a human brain portion, and the testicles and he begins to develop as a human. But the results in Bulkgaov’s novel is always surprising, the dog isn’t a nice friendly, tail-wagging human. Oh, no. He’s low, a cur, yes, a dog of a man who chases cats uncontrollably, pinches women’s bottoms and drinks like a fish.

    He demands to be registered and get papers like a human being in Soviet society. The author shows Sharik as violent and of sadistic nature thus portraying the true nature of the Soviet state, as a political allegory of the Bolsheviks’ disastrous attempt to force revolution on Russia prematurely. Heart of the Dog can be interpreted as a political tale. First, by emphasizing the allegorical significance of the Professor’s experiment at the expense of his highly individualistic personality and creativity this interpretation reduces a complex literary character-a potentially tragic hero, in fact to a one-dimensional allegorical symbol.

    Such an explanation of the text overlooks Bulgakov’s multi-faceted attitude toward his hero, who serves as an autobiographical spokesman for his political and social satire and as a tragic, Romantic hero in the Frankenstein tradition. The significance of the scientist’s experiment transcends a narrow political explanation is strongly suggested by the novel’s conclusion. If, having admitted and corrected his mistake, the Professor ceased experimentation in revolutionary science; the point of this political parable would have been made. Yet, for the scientist, the ending is not a resolution, but rather a frighteningly ambiguous continuation.

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