Bulgakov's novella 'A Dogs Heart' portrays a satirical post-1917, Bolchevikian Russia in negative light. The plot line circles around Sharik, a helpleBulgakov's novella 'A Dogs Heart' portrays a satirical post-1917, Bolchevikian Russia in negative light. The plot line circles around Sharik, a helpless, stray dog who becomes an unwilling patient in Dr. Filipp Filippovich Preobrazhenskys' avant-garde experiment and (not unlike Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka's existentialist novel 'The Metamorphosis') progressively converts form.
Sharik becomes Polygraf Polygrafovich Sharikov, a fully fledged human being. This character becomes the vehicle for Bulgakov's onslaught on Soviet Russia. Sharikov, through association becomes a crude, manual labour working 'proletariat supporting', cat chasing brute, this is in stark contrast to his liberal, intellectual bourgeoisie masters. This opposing stand-point sparks comedy, controversy and contention. The dissimilarity also allows the author to develop and maintain ethical dialogue. Displaying the conflictual class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat at the time of writing.
Here, due to the complex and diverse characters, Bulgakov manages expertly to demonstrate his powers of literature by skillfully and continually switching social perspective. Allowing for, at just 113 pages, a very deceivingly in-depth read. The influence of H.G. Wells can also be seen within 'A Dog's Heart'; the ideas of unprecedented science and human creation add to the myriad of perspectives achieved.
It could be said though, that the novella tends to grind along painstakingly slow for the first third, with the comedy becoming especially drab and monotonous. Aside from this relatively minor criticism however, 'A Dog's Heart' is extremely memorable; well worth a read.
Next on the Bugakov check list: Master and Margarita....more