Book Analysis: The Master and the Margarita

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The Master and the Margarita

“Locomotor and speech excitation, delirious interpretations, complex case, it seems. Schizophrenia plus alcoholism, disturbed imagination and hallucinations”. This was doctor Stravinsky’s diagnosis of Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyrov after his super natural encounters with Professor Woland. Ponyrov, also known as “Homeless” is a character of character of great interest especially on the topic of magical realism and the lunacy institutionalized belief systems in Soviet Russia as well as the modern western society, that make Ponyrov one of Bulgakov’s most interesting characters. This paper is interested in exploring the role of Ponyrov in Michael Bulgakov’s The Master and Margaritas with the focus on what kind of social representation Ponyrov was intended to represent in the novel. This paper is constructed in attempt to relate the historical relevance of phantasmagoria characters from The Master and Margeritas to its parallel narratives in 1930s Russia, showing that the character of Ponyrov is a reflection victimization of societal and institutional absurdity such as Stalin’s Great Purge during the early years of Soviet Russia.

The story of The Master and Margaritas took place in 1930s Moscow, though the story is restricted to neither the realm of reality nor this specific time period as the story blends and weaves between the story of Jesus in ancient Roman Empire and industrial Russia. The novel’s beginning holds particular importance in understanding Ponyrov (or “homeless”) as introduce the reader to two worlds, both full of censorship and political prosecution. Before the Devil’s introduction as a foreign Professor name Woland, this world seemed to follow the laws of physics, thus at the beginning of the novel it seemed to be a realist story, complying with modern communist and realist doctrines on gothic literature. The story eventually morphs two fantastic realms as Professor Woland slyly brought in several fantastic/theological...
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