Breaking Stalin's Nose
by Eugene Yelchin
Breaking Stalin's Nose Visions of the Soviet Union Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph), (Chapter.Figure)
Then a song comes on, "A Bright Future is Open to Us." (1.2)
Soviet media was closely controlled by the State, so it's not surprising that pretty much the only thing Sasha gets to listen to are patriotic songs and passionate speeches about how great Stalin is. This is just one more example of how the system controlled its citizens—by controlling their entertainment.
Forty-eight hardworking, honest Soviet citizens share the kitchen and single small toilet in our communal apartment we call komunalka for short. We live here as one large, happy family: We are all equal; we have no secrets. We know who gets up at what time, who eats what for dinner, and who said what in their rooms. The walls are thin; some don't go up to the ceiling. We even have a room cleverly divided with shelves of books about Stalin that two families can share. (2.1)
That's a whole lot of people living in a small space! Sasha at first makes the komunalka sound all homey and nice. They're "one large, happy family" (2.1). And the illustration certainly supports this notion; a lot of the people seem to be smiling and laughing while they eat (2.F1). But, as we continue reading we find out that there's a dark side to this: no one has any privacy at all. No privacy makes it easy to spy on people, which is just standard operating procedure in Sasha's society.
I take small bites of the carrot to make it last; the carrot is delicious. When hunger gnaws inside my belly, I tell myself that a future Pioneer has to repress cravings for such unimportant matters as food. (3.2)
That whole Communism utopia thing doesn't seem to be working out so well right now, since apparently there are people going hungry. Sasha's brainwashed into putting bodily needs—such as hunger—second to more philosophical needs, such as remaining politically pure. This comes out when he imagines how those poor kids in capitalist countries haven't even tasted a carrot (3.2).