Study Guide

Breaking Stalin's Nose Chapter 14

By Eugene Yelchin

Chapter 14

  • Sasha is knocking on the door of the storage room, waiting for the janitor, Matveich, to give him the Pioneers banner. While Sasha waits, we learn that he's less than thrilled with Matveich's Communist bona fides.
  • When he finally answers Sasha's knock, Matveich refuses to hand over the banner because the teacher's request does not have the chief's stamp. In other words, it's not all official-like.
  • So Sasha runs up to the principal's office to get this stamp. Outside the office, he sees Four-Eyes sitting on a bench, presumably awaiting his talking-to (or worse!) by the principal.
  • Sasha apologizes to him for breaking his glasses, and the two have a little chat.
  • Sasha's mom was American (he doesn't want people knowing this), and Four-Eyes immediately asks, "And she was arrested and shot?" (14.13). Wow—awkward!
  • After Sasha protests that his mom was a real Communist, Four-Eyes points out that his parents, too, were real Communists. That apparently only gets you so far, though, since they are now both in prison as "enemies of the people" (14.17).
  • Four-Eyes tells Sasha how his aunt took him to the prison to visit his parents. They waited for two days in line—and then he was told that he could not see them. Four-Eyes's aunt told him that this usually means the prisoner has been shot, but he doesn't believe his parents are dead.
  • He asks Sasha to help him get into the prison to see his parents, and claims he would do it if Sasha's dad were locked up (dramatic irony, anyone?).
  • This startles Sasha, and he leaves, thinking Four-Eyes is cray-cray.