The role of the head “Taman” in the novel by M.Yu. Lermontov
“Hero of our time”.
I. The division into parts, differing in plot and characters, is a distinctive feature of the novel by M.Yu. Lermontov “A Hero of Our Time”.
The novel uses a “reverse” composition, which helps the gradual disclosure of Pechorin’s character. The presence of different narrators makes it possible to gradually bring the hero closer to the reader, to gradually reveal his riddle until he “reveals” himself in his diary.
Features of the plot and composition
Plot chronology Composition
1. “Taman” 1. “Bela”
2. “Princess Mary” 2. “Maxim Maksimych”
3. “Bela” 3. Message about the death of Pechorin
4. “Fatalist” 4. “Taman”
5. “Maxim Maksimych” 5. “Princess Mary”
6. Message about the death of Pechorin 6. “Fatalist”
“The attentive reader will note that the whole trick of such a composition is to bring Pechorin closer to us over and over again, until, finally, he himself speaks to us, but by that time he will no longer be alive,” V Nabokov.
Chronology of events “Taman”: around 1830 – Pechorin is sent from St. Petersburg to the active detachment and stops in Taman. “Princess Mary”: May 10 – June 17, 1832 – Pechorin comes from Taman to the waters in Pyatigorsk, then to Kislovodsk; after a duel with Grushnitsky, he was transferred to the fortress under the command of Maxim Maksimych. “Fatalist”: December 1832 – Pechorin arrives for two weeks from the fortress to the Cossack village. “Bela”: spring 1833 – Pechorin kidnaps the daughter of the “Mirnov prince”; four months later, she dies at the hands of Kazbich. “Maxim Maksimych”: autumn 1837 – Pechorin goes to Persia, again finds himself in the Caucasus and meets with Maxim Maksimych. (V. Nabokov).
An important part of the composition of the novel is the message of the main narrator about Pechorin’s death in the preface to the hero’s diary. Lermontov, thoughtfully building his novel from separate fragments of the hero’s life, decisively breaks this chronology.
The rejection of chronology is due to the following: the choice of the most significant episodes, special attention to psychological reflections, rather than a description of events; the need to correlate the hero with other characters appearing in a certain sequence; the choice of the narrator is not accidental – it serves the general plan; the composition is subject to the author’s intention: to comprehensively and deeply reveal the image of the hero of his time, to trace the history of his life.
The storytelling system is no accident. Three points of view are given: The traveling officer (this is an educated officer, he knows something about Pechorin, about his strange and contradictory character, gives an objective assessment); Maxim Maksimych (a man of honor, military duty, discipline; he is simple-hearted, kind, sincere); Pechorin (a person who thinks about the meaning of life, about his own purpose, judges himself).
The storytelling system helps answer the question: how is the hero presented? Pechorin is a mysterious and mysterious person, he cannot be understood, and his actions cannot be immediately explained. But such a system is an attempt to explain some actions. Pechorin’s diary is a tragic confession of the hero, where he is sincere to the reader and to himself.
This idea is subject to the genre diversity of the chapters of the novel, which can be defined as follows: a romantic short story – a travel essay, a psychological short story, an adventurous short story, an action-packed story, a diary – a “secular” story, notes – a romantic short story. And in the end, “A Hero of Our Time” is a socio-psychological philosophical novel.
If the first two stories by genre are travel notes (the narrator remarked: “I am not writing a story, travel notes), then the following stories are Pechorin’s diary.
A diary is a record of a personal nature, in which a person, knowing that they will not be known to others, can state not only external events, but also internal movements of his own soul, hidden from everyone. Pechorin was sure that he was writing “this magazine … for himself,” which is why he was so open in his confessions.
So, “Taman” is the first story in Pechorin’s diary, from which we learn about the adventures of the hero in the “bad town”. Here is the early stage of the hero’s life, about which he himself tells; the reader looks at all events through the eyes of the hero.
II. The role of the head “Taman” in the novel.
1840 “Taman” “Domestic Notes”.
The plot of the chapter, its construction.
Ø Pechorin arrives in Taman
Ø Settles in an “unclean” shack by the sea
Ø Dating a mysterious girl, a blind boy and a landlady
Ø The “bewitched” Pechorin is trying to drown the “beautiful undine”
Ø Pechorin disrupts the plans of “honest smugglers”
“Yes, and what do I care about the joy and misfortune of men.”
In Lermontov’s novel “A Hero of Our Time” a topical problem is solved: why people, smart and energetic, do not find application for their remarkable abilities and wither without a struggle at the very beginning of their career. Lermontov answers this question with the life story of Pechorin, a young man belonging to the generation of the 1930s. The composition, the plot of the work and the entire system of images are subordinated to the task of a comprehensive and deep disclosure of the personality of the hero and the environment that brought him up.
The story told in Taman has a vital basis. Lermontov was in Taman in 1837. He had to linger while waiting for the ship. The old Cossack woman Tsaritsykha mistook Lermontov for a secret spy who wants to find smugglers. Tsaritsykha’s neighbor was a beautiful Tatar woman whose husband dealt with smugglers. And the blind boy Yashka was. All the facts of life appear before us in a different form.
Taman’s story is an independent work of art and at the same time is part of the novel. It is written in the form of a diary, and this is no coincidence. If at the beginning of the novel the author seeks to show the contradictory actions of Pechorin, then later on the pages of the diary the secret and obvious motives of the hero’s actions are revealed, their reasons are analyzed.
In his diary, Pechorin tells about the very beginning of his wanderings – about the first exciting and dangerous adventure in a seaside town. The chapter “Taman” stands out not only for its romantic style, but also for its special adventurous plot dynamics. An “unclean” shack, a stormy sea, a mysterious boat of a desperately brave smuggler, a mysterious young beauty – an “undine”, a blind boy, a nightly date with a girl that almost cost the officer his life – all this, it would seem, makes a short story of Pechorin’s stay in Taman the most colorful episode in the life of the hero, gives the story an action-packed character.
However, the main meaning of the story is not in the adventurousness of the plot, but in the final words of the hero: “And why did fate throw me into a peaceful circle of honest smugglers? Like a stone thrown into a smooth spring, I disturbed their calmness and, like a stone, I almost sank myself!” Having left the St. Petersburg society that bored him, Pechorin longs for new experiences, and fate offers him some secret of an “unclean place”, the inhabitants of which arouse natural suspicions: “I went out, firmly deciding to get the key to this riddle.” An old woman, a blind man, an Undine girl, Yanko, in fact, turn out to be not a romantic gang of robbers, but thieving smugglers, whose community is being destroyed at the behest of a curious officer. Interfering in the lives of people he does not know, Pechorin destroys natural human ties: an old woman and a blind man are left to the mercy of fate: “… and then I heard something like a sob: the blind boy was crying, and for a long, long time … I felt sad.” For Pechorin, it becomes obvious that these people live a normal life, earn a living in dangerous illegal trade and are forced to defend themselves in their own way from an annoying passing officer. But the compassion that flashed through Pechorin’s soul for these people, whose lives he suddenly destroyed, is replaced by a cold, bitter confession: “Yes, and what do I care about human joys and misfortunes.” So for the first time the reader observes the hero from the inside, penetrates into his consciousness.
The character of Pechorin, speaking from the events described; how the central situation of the chapter helps to reveal its character. “Taman” is the first part of Pechorin’s diary entries, the “self-disclosure” of the hero begins from this chapter.
A man thinking about the meaning of life, about his own purpose, trying to understand the inconsistency of his character, Pechorin judges himself and executes himself. The reader begins to understand this when he opens the hero’s diary. This is a tragic confession of a man, the history of his soul.
“The history of the human soul … is more useful than the history of a whole people, especially when it is the result of a mature mind observing itself and when it is written without a vain desire to arouse interest or surprise.”
The main question is: what kind of hero is Pechorin? What drives them? Pechorin – a romantic?
It is no coincidence that the diary probably begins with the romantic short story Taman. It only reveals the riddle of Pechorin, because one episode from his life is told here – a meeting with smugglers in a boring seaside town, where the hero ends up on his way to the Caucasus. The novella is full of romantic pictures that are quite consistent with the character of the hero. The adventurous nature of the plot also corresponds to the active, ebullient nature of Pechorin, who “chases furiously for life”, but, not being satisfied with anything, is constantly bored. This is what happens here as well. Having become interested in the mysterious girl whom Pechorin calls Undina, he unexpectedly finds himself among local smugglers with whom she is connected. Such heroes in Russian literature have traditionally been perceived as romantic. But with Lermontov, everything turns out differently. The romantic halo is destroyed by the self-irony of the author of the Journal: the mention that he cannot swim is clearly an anti-romantic detail. And the plot, mysterious at first, ends with Pechorin’s conclusion that he was faced with a “peaceful circle of honest smugglers”, to whom, in fact, he does not care.
It should be noted that in Taman, the romantic elation of the narrative is harmoniously combined with the realistic depiction of the characters and life of free smugglers. For example, let’s take the description of Yanko’s portrait: A man in a Tatar hat came out of the boat, but he had a Cossack haircut, and a large knife was sticking out of his belt belt. And this detail (knife) reminds of the dangerous profession of a smuggler. Somehow it is very simply said about the prowess of Yanko. What, blind man, – said the female gloss, – the storm is strong. Janko will not. Yanko is not afraid of the storm, he answered. Following this dialogue, Lermontov draws a raging sea. Slowly climbing the ridges of the waves, quickly descending from them, the boat approached the shore. The description of the raging elements serves as a means of revealing the prowess of Yanko, for whom the road is everywhere, where only the wind blows and the sea makes noise. Not for the sake of love, he goes to the feat, but for the sake of profit. His stinginess is striking: the blind boy receives a small coin as a reward. And the old woman Yanko asks to convey that, they say, it’s time to die, healed, you need to know and honor. Fate does not bring Pechorin and this honest smuggler directly, but nevertheless, Yanko is forced to leave the habitable lands precisely because of him. The heroes of the story are engaged in a dangerous business of smuggling. Lermontov deliberately does not specify what exactly they are transporting through the strait and what they are taking overseas. Rich goods, the load was great – we know nothing more. It is important for Lermontov to create in the reader a feeling of a dangerous, unusual life, full of anxieties. Let’s trace the relationship between Pechorin and the smugglers. Having settled in a hut where it is unclean, Pechorin does not think to be afraid, one might even say, he behaves thoughtlessly. On the very first night, he got up, put on his beshmet, quietly left the hut, seeing a shadow flash past the window. Why does he need this alien life. The answer is very simple. Everything is interesting to him, it is important, he needs to touch everything, probably, this is what attracts the character of Pechorin. He is young, looking for love. But the mysterious girl lured him into the boat, he felt her fiery breath on his face – and at the same moment the mermaid threw his pistol into the water. There is no longer an undine, there is an enemy with whom one must fight. To top it all off, the blind boy robbed Pechorin with the knowledge of the girl, and this finally destroys the dreams in which our hero was. And what were the consequences of the phrase: And if, for example, I decided to inform the commandant. Both the old woman, and the blind boy, and the girl could not explain Pechorin’s actions otherwise than by the desire to convey to the commandant. After all, he walks, looks out, threatens. They do not understand that he is simply interested in these people, their lives …
• Pechorin, in a collision with smugglers, shows himself to be a man of action.
• The hero is resolute and courageous, but his activity turns out to be pointless.
• The hero does not have the opportunity to indulge in major activities, to do things for which he feels the strength.
• Pechorin wastes himself, getting involved in other people’s affairs, interfering in other people’s destinies, invading someone else’s life and upsetting someone else’s happiness.