Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Characters

Meet the Cast

Sasha Zaichik

We're not going to lie to you. As a narrator, Sasha's as naive as they come. At first, he buys into that whole rah-rah Communism thing hook, line and sinker. Case in point? He tries to comfort a cr...

Sasha's Dad

The Iron Broom Behind the Iron CurtainSasha's dad is a big hero, and works as a State Security agent at Lubyanka prison (3.1). This means he's basically a super secret member of the super secret So...

Vovka Sobakin

Keep Your Frenemies CloseVovka used to be Sasha's best friend and was once a model student and talented artist. Case in point: last year, he painted a work called Comrade Stalin at the Helm (13.2),...

Borka "Four-Eyes" Finkelstein

Four-Eyes (as most call him) is the only Jewish boy in Sasha's class, wears glasses (hence where he gets his moniker), and his parents have recently been arrested. This makes him a triple threat, a...

Zina Krivko

Zina's a girl in Sasha's class, whom Sasha describes as a bit of a Queen Bee. She "always speaks for everybody" (18.6), which means she's got some guts. When Nina Petrovna demands that all of the k...

Nina Petrovna

Nina Petrovna is the type of teacher you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. She's a mean-spirited, suspicious, and frankly rabid Communist. She takes delight in casual cruelty, by taking every oppo...

Sergei Ivanych

Sergei Ivanych is the principal of Moscow Elementary School #37. Check out the illustration of this guy at 23.F1. To put it bluntly, he looks like a three-fingered Hitler in a business suit. What w...

Aunt Larisa

Aunt Larisa is Sasha's dad's sister, and she lives with her husband (who isn't named) and her new baby (who is also not named). When Sasha's dad is arrested, he turns to good old Aunt Larisa, just...

Matveich

Meet the janitor at Moscow Elementary School #37. Matveich spends a lot of time down in the basement, and doesn't always hear when people knock on the door, because he's "half deaf" (14.1). Sasha t...

The Senior Lieutenant

This guy doesn't get a name, but he doesn't really need one because he's here to serve as the novel's Big Bad. When Sasha first sees him, he's there to arrest his dad. Strike one. He's got "bloodsh...

Luzhko

He's the substitute Russian lit teacher at Sasha's school. He has a beard, and the little we know about him makes us think he would probably fit right in with a group of disaffected hipsters with a...

Stukachov

Stukachov initially comes off as a smarmy kiss-up: "One neighbor, Stukachov, follows us down the corridor, smiling and bobbing his head, asking how many spies my dad has exposed today" (4.1). Just...

Marfa Ivanovna

Marfa's one of the few adults in the novel to show Sasha anything approaching kindness (the other is the nice lady he meets in line for Lubyanka prison). She gives Sasha a carrot to eat while he's...

Woman at Lubyanka Prison

Although she is not named, this woman that Sasha meets while standing in line to see his dad at the prison ends up being one of the kindest characters in the novel. We find out that she's waiting t...

Aunt Larisa's Husband

We don't learn much about Aunt Larisa's husband. Sasha thinks of him in terms of "that jerk" (10.2), and he is fairly jerky. He laughs a "nasty laugh" when Sasha claims that Stalin will soon discov...

Orlov

The only time we see Orlov is when he sings and plays the accordion so loudly that Sasha and his father can hear it through their wall on the night Sasha's dad gives him the Pioneer scarf. When Sas...

Semenov

He's another resident of the community apartment, and his plight illustrates what life is like for a lot of people in this time and place: "Semenov sleeps behind the curtain in the corridor" (7.3)....
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