Baby’s Touch ’N Feel Guide to Russian Literature.
BY SUMMER BLOCK
[Originally published May 11, 2010.]
The Brothers Karamazov
Feel the soft little bag where Dmitri hides his shameful money. He wears the bag around his neck. It is full of rubles. Why doesn’t Dmitri save himself?
Notes from the Underground
See the yellow stain on the Underground Man’s pants. His clothes are shabby and old. What compels him to debase himself?
Crime and Punishment
Run your hand over Raskolnikov’s scratchy face. He is feverish and pale. Raskolnikov is a murderer. Can the ends ever justify the means?
Grisha and Tanya turn boxes into a toy train. This is called foreshadowing.
War and Peace
Admire Natasha’s elegant opera gown. Natasha is very beautiful. At the opera she meets Anatole. Anatole is handsome and charming. But he is already married!
Master and Margarita
Pet Behemoth’s soft black fur. Behemoth is a giant cat who walks, talks, and discharges firearms. His owner is Satan.
The Foundation Pit
Meet Misha the diligent bear. Misha works as a blacksmith. Misha denounces his master. Why doesn’t anyone seem to notice that Misha is a bear?
Look out! This is the bullet that Onegin uses to kill Lensky. What was the use of such a tragic gesture? All of this is idleness.
Stroke the soft cat fur lining of Akaky Akakievich’s collar. Two bad thieves steal Akaky’s new coat. No one is kind to him. Later he will return as a ghost.
The Cherry Orchard
Scratch the cherries to smell the sweet scent of the blooming orchard. Lopakhin’s workers are chopping down all the beautiful trees. Whose fault is that, the aristocrats or the bourgeoisie?
One Day in the Life
of Ivan Denisovich
Ivan needs mortar to build a power station. But this mortar is all frozen! Ivan’s suffering is boundless.
Death of Ivan Ilych
Touch Ivan Ilych’s beautiful new curtains. The curtains are expensive, rich and lovely. But they are not worth dying for.
SUGGESTED READSMonologue: Vladimir Nabokov Didn’t Have to Put Up With Payroll
by Shane Ryan (6/26/2007)
List: Chapter Titles in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick That Misleadingly Suggest Racy Content
by Ed Page (1/28/2002)
The Best Jokes Are Dangerous, An Interview with Kurt Vonnegut, Part One
by J. Rentilly (9/16/2002)
RECENTLYList: Sylvia Plath’s Holiday Cooking Tips
by Arabella Anderson (11/26/2014)
Butterball Help-Line Help-Line
by Alysia Gray Painter (11/26/2014)
List: Pardoned Turkeys: Where Are They Now?
by Tom O'Donnell (11/26/2014)
POPULARWhy You Should Not Have Broken Up With Me, According to Various Critical Theories
by Tommy Wallach (11/3/2014)
It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers
by Colin Nissan (9/23/2014)
The Boy from Jurassic Park’s College Application Essay
by Julia Drake (11/12/2014)