The Bet

Russian Culture

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Dear Reader,

My perspective on Russian culture was very different before I started this project. Before

the only thing I really knew about Russia was what I heard in the news about Putin.

But now that I have thoroughly researched Russian culture and literature, I feel I am better

educated on the culture of the Russian people.

In my research I have in fact learned a lot more than what I originally believed, like the

Russian's are a people that that values an education. Their youth like to read and write and

that is why so many famous literary works come from Russia. Russia also places a high

value on the arts such as the ballet, and music. Some of the best composers have come

from Russia such as Dmitri Shostakovich and Igor Stravinsky. But there is still something

that is more important than all of these other amazing things. The Russians have always,

and continue to place a large emphasis on family. Not just direct family, but also extended

family and close friends. They have done this ever since the Soviet era when they could

trust no one. And most of all Russians have a great sense of pride not only for themselves

but for the Motherland.

The Russians have a complex culture that is displayed in their music, their writing and

more. They have great core values that seems to be what hold this giant, spread out

country, together as one.


Russian culture as I stated in the dear reader is very complex. Their values seem to be

reflected in a lot of the literature from that part of the world, from the folk tales that have

been told for centuries to the novels that are written by aspiring Russian writers today.

Another big part of Russian culture are the arts, specifically music. Ever heard of Pyotr

Ilyich Tchaikovsky? Probably not but you have most likely heard of his piece the

Nutcracker suite that seems to play on repeat throughout the Christmas

season. Other famous Russian composer are Dmitri Shostakovich who wrote

The Fire Of Eternal Glory, or Igor Stravinsky who wrote The Firebird Suite.

Another big part of Russian culture is the ballet, two of the most famous from

Russia are The Firebird, and the more Familiar Nutcracker suite both using the

music from the composers listed above. This shows how one medium such as

folklore can then spark an idea, which blossoms into a song, which then inspires

a ballet that the entire world can enjoy. And I think in a way that's how this

culture has developed, just ideas blossoming into something more, to where

they are no longer ideas but traditions to pass on for generations to come.

Text analysis

Pride, something we all possess, but will never give up. Pride is a big part of the Russian

short story The Bet by Anton Chekhov. In the story two friends are arguing about whether

capital punishment should be allowed, and if there is a difference between taking

someone's life or rotting in prison until death. One man argues that "Capital punishment

kills a man at once, but lifelong imprisonment kills him slowly. Which

executioner is the more humane, he who kills you in a few minutes or he who

drags the life out of you in the course of many years?" And so they make a bet,

as to who will last longer in solitary confinement, one says five years, the other

says 10, and finally the first says 15 years in solitary confinement, with only a

piano, books, and paper to write letters, and story's. The prize if he stays there

for fifteen years is two million dollars from his friend.

The story has a lot of elements from Russian culture such as the things he is

locked up with. First a piano, this represents how in touch Russians are with

music and the effect it has on them to keep the man entertained throughout his

confinement. And books and paper to write, this represents how In touch

Russians are with education, and literature.

It's amazing how such small elements in literature can reflect such big values in a culture, and their significance.


Hekhov, Anton. "Short Stories: The Bet by Anton Chekhov." Short Stories: The Bet by Anton Chekhov. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.