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Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin
Breaking Stalin's Nose Chapter 12 Summary
When Sasha gets to school, tons of kids are out on the playground having a snowball fight. Apparently, Sasha is never picked last on these teams, because he is super good at marksmanship. This is courtesy of his "war-preparedness" class. Yikes! Is that one on your school schedule? Sasha joins in, and is soon rudely rammed into a snowdrift by a kid who appears to be a playground bully: Vovka Sobakin. Vovka calls Sasha " Amerikanetz" (12.1), which is a rude slur meant to insult Sasha because his mother was, it turns out, American. Sasha and Vovka are frenemies now (well, more on the enemy side, really), but they used to be besties. After this altercation, Vovka shouts out: "Death to the enemy of the people!" (12.2). This frightens Sasha, because he wonders if Vovka knows about his dad's arrest the night before. Turns out that Vovka wasn't even talking about Sasha at all, and instead has his sights set on someone called Four-Eyes. A group of kids are lined up in front of him, firing-squad style, and throw a bunch of snowballs at the poor kid. Four-Eyes is a kid named Borka Finkelstein, and he's the only Jewish kid at the school (12.3). His parents were arrested earlier in the year. The kids call him Four-Eyes because (wait for it!) he wears glasses. Yeah, real clever, guys. Four-Eyes also reads a lot (so that apparently makes him kind of nerdy). Vovka tries to get Sasha to throw a snowball at Four-Eyes. He initially refuses, and someone yells out that he's a traitor. Four-Eyes takes this opportunity to throw his own snowball. Even though he usually has bad aim (since he's almost blind), he throws and scores a direct hit on Sasha. Sasha launches a counterattack that breaks Four-Eyes' glasses. One sharp piece cuts his cheek.
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