Analysis of Mikhail Zoshchenko’s PELAGEYA by using Kennedy’s Elements of Fiction

Pelageya is an awesome short story about eliminating illiteracy. Before reading the analysis, you can read the summary of it on my another post:

Summary and Labov’s Narrative Structure of Mikhail Zoshchenko’s “PELAGEYA”

And here is the analysis of Pelageya by using Kennedy’s Elements of Fiction:

1. Setting
Russia, while and after the revolution of the country (around 1917).

2. Characters/Characterization
Protagonists :
– Pelageya, an illiterate woman who couldn’t even write her name.
– Ivan Nikolaevich, Pelageya’s husband, a responsible Soviet official who taught Pelageya how to read.

Antagonist : Pelageya’s illiteracy.
Minor Character : Maria Blokhina.

3. Plot
a. Exposition : Pelageya is an illiterate woman who couldn’t even write her name.
b. Conflict : Pelageya didn’t regret being an illiterate and she didn’t want to learn reading and writing.
c. Rising Action : Ivan, Pelageya’s husband, asked her to learn about how to write, at least her name, but Pelageya was not interested in it.
d. Climax : One day, Pelageya found a perfumed letter in her husband’s jacket. She was worried about it. She thought that it was a love letter from a well educated lady for her husband. It was the first time that she then regrets not being able to read.
e. Falling Action : Pelageya started learning to read.
f. Resolution : In the third month of studying, Pelagea was finally able to read the letter.
g. Conclusion : It was not a love letter, but one which was sent by Maria Blokhina, Ivan’s friend, and talked about liquidating illiterates. She supported Ivan in freeing Pelageya from her illiteracy.
h. Epilogue : Pelagea was sad and feeling insulted by reading the letter but she was glad that it wasn’t love letter as she assumed before.

4. Style
Narrator, foreshadowing.

5. Point of View
Third person, all-knowing (omniscient).

6. Theme
– Illiteracy has to be liquidated.
Pelageya’s problem of illiteracy is just a simple example. There are many problems may be occurred by illiteracy.
– There is no such thing as too late to learn something
Pelageya thought that it was too late for her to learn about how to read and write. Yet, she then mastered it in about three months.
– Don’t judge, find the truth instead!
Pelageya could be angry with her husband when she found the letter, but she was not since she couldn’t be sure about her assumption. Later she found out that she was wrong after knowing the truth.

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