Breaking Stalin's Nose Summary & Study Guide

Eugene Velchin
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This section contains 650 words
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Breaking Stalin's Nose Summary & Study Guide Description

Breaking Stalin's Nose Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"Breaking Stalin's Nose" by Eugene Velchin is the story of Sasha Zaichik, a ten-year-old Russian boy who lives in a commune with his father and forty other Russian citizens. Sasha is enthralled with Communism and he idolizes Comrade Stalin who is the Leader and Teacher. He loves and admires his father who is a hero and works for State Security which is also known as the Secret Police. Sasha writes to Stalin to tell him how much he appreciates his leadership and how grateful he is to live in a Communistic society.

One night, his father is very late in coming home. A neighbor gives him a carrot to eat. He is sure that the kids who live in capitalistic societies are not as fortunate as the children in the USSR are. They do not have fine carrots to eat like he does and there is no chance for them to fulfill their dreams like the children in the Soviet Union have. They are also blessed to live in communes in Russia because it reminds them of the "we" in communism as opposed to the "I" in capitalism.

Sasha thinks some people seem afraid of his father but he is certain that they really respect him for being a state hero. His father warns him not to talk to a particular neighbor named Stukachov. He also tells Sasha that if something should ever happen to him he should go to his Aunt Larisa. Sasha is initially confused about his father's warnings. However, his father is arrested in the middle of the night and it is apparent that Stukachov turned him in on some false charge. Stukachov is all too happy to move his family into the larger apartment that Sasha and his father shared. Sasha goes to his Aunt Larisa's apartment just as his father told him to do. However, she has a husband and young baby. She is afraid that taking him in will put her family at risk. Sasha has nowhere to go and is homeless.

Sasha sleeps in the basement of his aunt's apartment building that night and takes a streetcar to school the next day. His classmate Borka is the only Jewish student. His parents had been arrested some time before and he lives with other relatives. Another peer, Vovka, is a formerly good student who has become a bad boy who is always in trouble. Sasha is anxious to join the Young Soviet Pioneers which is the Communist youth group and he is to become a member that day. His father was supposed to participate in the ceremony but Sasha is not certain about his status. Although he was arrested Sasha is certain that it was a mistake and as soon as Stalin finds out about the mistake he is sure he'll be released.

But life in the USSR is harsh. When reality sets in, Sasha begins to see that Communism is not all that it was purported to be. He learns that Borka's parents were executed and that Vovka's anger stemmed from his own father's arrest and execution. Sasha knows deep down that his father may be facing the same fate. Although he doesn't believe it, people tell Sasha that his father was responsible for the death of his mother. When Sasha accidentally knocks the nose off of Stalin's plaster statue that is kept in the school's main hall, he is at risk of being arrested and perhaps even executed.

Sasha realizes that he doesn't want to become a Young Pioneer and thereby rejects Communism. He runs away from school to Lubyanka where his father is imprisoned. Waiting in the long visitor line at the prison, Sasha meets a woman who offers him a place to stay. She is a kind woman who has hope for a brighter future, which is exactly what Sasha needs in his young tragic life.

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This section contains 650 words
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Buy the Breaking Stalin's Nose Study Guide
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