With the help of sarcastic irony, Bulgakov in his book The Heart of a Dog creates a world full of large and small conflicts that arise whenever a person is not in his place. The most profound conflict in the story arises between Professor Preobrazhensky and a new Soviet society. Socialism seeks to create a new person from an old “human material”, thus creating a conflict between “former people” and a new social system.
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The socialists imagined that socialism can be built with “former people”. However, this experiment failed, since it was impossible to build a new system from the material left by capitalism. In the same way, Professor Preobrazhensky intended to make a man of a dog. However, he admitted not only the fallacy of his experiment but also its danger (Bulgakov 20). The author endows his character with the ability to see things as they are. Unlike new people, he is committed to the true values and can separate them from imposed false ones. Preobrazhensky is dissatisfied with the current state of affairs and the absence of the social order.
Professor insists on establishing order in modern society since it is a society of a strict division of labor. Everyone should do their work, which does not happen, and this is the reason for losing stability. Most of all, the professor is embarrassed about the confusion in people’s heads (Bulgakov 17). He is worried about the collapse of culture and traditional values, which can lead to damage.
The main conflict in the book is the gap between a man with an old worldview and a new social order. Bulgakov was skeptical about the attempts of the Soviet leaders to artificially accelerate the adaptation of people to the new system. The writer was worried about people’s lives in a difficult transitional era. Professor Preobrazhensky’s experiment helps to expose the absurdity of a society in which everything abnormal becomes normal, as a result of a historical experiment.
Bulgakov, Mikhail. The Heart of a Dog. Melville House Pub, 2013.