Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Literary Devices in Breaking Stalin's Nose

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Sasha lives in the Soviet Union of the 1950s, when Joseph Stalin ruled with an iron fist. The Big PictureA Communist dictator, Stalin wanted the USSR to quickly move from a farming-based society to...

Narrator Point of View

Breaking Stalin's Nose is told from the point of view of Sasha, a ten-year-old boy. That's a big clue that we should proceed with caution. In fact, we should probably take everything Sasha says wit...

Genre

Back in the USSRCan you say no-brainer? Even though the story is fictional, Yelchin's novel gives us a glimpse into what life was really like during one particular historical moment (the 1950s) in...

Tone

You don't get much more serious than a dead mom, an imprisoned dad, and a homeless kiddo. Even when Sasha gets some time to just relax and chow down on a carrot, we don't get a lot of lightheartedn...

Writing Style

Breaking Stalin's Nose comes at you faster than the Red Army rolling down the streets of Moscow during the May Day Parade. Yelchin's relatively simple language, short paragraphs, and cut-scenes mak...

What's Up With the Title?

Ah, don't you just love a good piece of cake? Breaking Stalin's Nose literally refers to the moment in the book that sets off a chain of events that ends up making Sasha start to call into question...

What's Up With the Ending?

Poor Sasha. Things don't seem to be looking up for him at all. When we last see him, even though he's met a nice lady who has offered to take care of him, he's standing in a whopper of a line to tr...

Tough-o-Meter

With the exception of a few phrases in Russian ("komunalka" and "Amerikanetz") and some political terminology that you will want to have down cold ("Communist," "capitalist," and "communal"—be su...

Plot Analysis

A Communist Paradise?All is well for ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik. He's living in the Communist paradise of the 1950s Soviet Union, and his dad is a Hero and a good Communist. Sasha, himself, is abou...

Trivia

Eugene Yelchin himself grew up in a communal-style apartment in Moscow (just like Sasha). You know what they say about writing what you know… (Source.)Speaking of which, Eugene Yelchin was also a...

Steaminess Rating

It can't get much more G-rated than Breaking Stalin's Nose. Love and romance are the furthest things from Sasha's ten-year-old mind. The only steam in this novel's the breath fogging from the mouth...

Allusions

Nikolai Gogol, "The Nose" (24.4-24.6). Joseph Stalin (a whopping forty-four times, starting at 1.1)Young Soviet Pioneers (tons of references from 1.5 on)USSR (1.4) Red Square (8.1, 15.4, 15.10...
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