Life and Fate Themes & Motifs

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Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy represents all that is absurd and repressive about life in Stalinist Russia. Implicit in the power of bureaucracy is a strict adherence to hierarchy. Bureaucracy, on a philosophic level, is opposed to life because it is insensitive to the unique and consequential differences between people and situations.

Bureaucracy is present in all aspects of the novel. Social life, military orders, culture, and academic research are all filtered through the Soviet bureaucracy. Individual interactions with bureaucratic offices often create dilemmas for the characters that are humorous and ironic in nature. For example, the interminable back and forth between the passport office and her employer that Yevgenia must facilitate in order to gain her residence permit in Kuibyshev, despite the fact that she is obviously eligible for one, shows the unnecessary amounts of effort that the bureaucracy requires to complete a simple task (122-9).

However, the bureaucratic...

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This section contains 2,568 words
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