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.

Analysis

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.


Bib

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