Статья 'Тема семьи и дома в дилогии Марии Якуниной «Восьмерка» и «Дорогая Рита»' - журнал 'Litera' - NotaBene.ru
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The theme of family and home in Maria Yakunina's dilogy "The Eight" and "Dear Rita"

Oktyabr'skaya Ol'ga Svyatoslavovna

Doctor of Philology

Professor, Department of Contemporary Russian Literature and Modern Literary Process, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

119192, Russia, Moscow, Leninskie Gory str., 1, office 967

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The article raises the question of the principles of the relationship between adults and children in a modern children's story. In addition, the themes of home, family, and family education in the lives of teenagers are updated. The significance of this article is due to the importance of the problems posed, as well as modern and practically unexplored research material, which are the stories "The Eight" and "Dear Rita" by the modern teenage author M. Yakunina. To comprehend these aspects, the following research methods are used in the article: comparative, hermeneutic and comparative-typological methods. With the help of a systematic approach, an analytical study of the ways of socialization and self-improvement of a child in a teenage story is provided. The main result of this work is the study of different types of characters of children and adults, ways of their interaction and ways of self-realization. At the same time, the following tasks were solved: identification of key aspects of growing up and socialization of the child; analysis of the relationship between adults and children in Maria Yakunina's stories "The Eight" and "Dear Rita"; determination of the features of the development of the main storylines and the figurative system of the analyzed stories. The key topic of the article is the role of the family in the life of a teenager, the possibility of choosing a family by a child and the responsibility of both children and adults for the family as a whole and each of its members.


teenage literature, family and home, child growing up, modern children's story, school story, child's self-realization, developmental psychology, children's literature, childbirth, raising a teenager

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

         The figure of a teenager has recently attracted more and more attention of writers, and reflections on the behavior and actions of young people of adolescent age from different historical periods have become the subject of discussions by literary critics, teachers, critics and psychologists. An important problem of modern literature about teenagers has become the theme of family and home, which has always been relevant especially for children's literature.

The actualization of this issue in this article is due to the need to identify those aspects of the life of a modern teenager that are especially important in the formation of moral values, ways to further adulthood and socialization of a young person. The study of the problems of the relationship between adolescents and adults in the family and society on modern material has great theoretical and practical significance. The theoretical significance of this work is due to the contribution to the general methodological and applied basis of the study of the problems of interaction between an adult and a child / teenager, the practical significance lies in the possibility of using the results obtained in the educational process in schools, vocational education organizations and universities. The theoretical basis of the research was the work of modern literary critics who address this issue. Thus, I.B. Nichiporov [1], E.V. Beard [2], A.P. Mingalina [3] and others reflect on the loneliness of adolescents, N.V. Chekasheva, O.Yu. write about the methods of adolescent and youth realization. Osmukhina [4], G.I. Vlasov [5], etc., who identify problematic aspects of the adolescent character embodied in the works of Russian and foreign writers. 

The topic of the relationship between children and parents comes to the fore in the novels of the modern writer for teenagers Maria Yakunina "The Eight" and "Dear Rita". The first story of this dilogy is devoted to the problems of finding a family by a child, the Appearance (with a capital letter) and the Birth of a new person. This process traditionally arouses burning interest among the younger generation at various levels – why was born to these particular parents, how it happened, etc. It is noteworthy that the writer devotes almost an entire story to this phenomenon, but translates the curious gaze of the child from the physiological to the philosophical, psychological and social planes and brings out both existential and very difficult local problems.

Contrary to the obvious statement that the main event in a person's life is his Appearance and Birth, Yakunina, without removing the sacredness from this process, makes the main and main question about the choice of a child, while relatively adult, just about adolescence, of his parents, family, future home. Of course, this very choice is not made in our world, but somewhere in a parallel world, where people go after death and where those who are waiting for the Appearance, Birth and arrival in our real world find themselves. Of course, such a shift of emphasis towards the dominance of the child is not entirely true, but the author's position in this regard is deeper – the emphasis from the egocentrism of the child is directed at the absolute value of the family, which is formed, first of all, by the child, since he has the main choice – the choice of those whom he can call parents, and those who who actually will become them, but only after the birth of the baby. Indeed, spouses become parents immediately after realizing that they should have a child. Interestingly, before the birth of a child, future parents can break up, quarrel, leave and come to each other, but everything changes when they realize the burden of responsibility that is presented to them from Above - preparing for the birth of a child. At the same time, the writer introduces her readers to different variants of families – it can be an ordinary traditional family (mom-dad-child / children), but there may well be another option – a child can be raised by one mother. At the same time, it is no longer the child himself who chooses the family, but this is done for him, since he gets to the Distribution after two unsuccessful attempts to appear.

Thus, the story "The Eight" is almost entirely devoted to such problems. The main characters of this part of the dilogy are children preparing for the most important choice in their lives. The story "The Eight" with the external preservation of the genre features of the school story (shows the process of learning the choice of parents and further socialization in another world, that is, in our reality, the choice itself as an exam for maturity, the relationship of children of different distribution groups and those who choose the family themselves, etc. – the relationship of children and mentors, etc.) actualizes the features of the social story, the story of education, etc.

The greatest mystery of nature – the birth of a person – remains a kind of sacred process – a child may Appear, that is, be conceived, the Appearance itself may not happen, but it may disappear in the Heavenly world where the action of the first story takes place, and in another, our world, if the mother decides to get rid of the child before his birth. It is important for Yakunina to show that the process of the baby's appearance is a sacrament bestowed from Above, but human intervention can lead to tragedy. In addition, Yakunina is close to the idea of the interpenetrability of the two worlds, since a person in the Heavenly world can observe the real world with a special device. Thus, the screens that connect the two worlds reveal to the child heroes their future world, their family. At the same time, different characters are interested in different aspects. So, the creative potential of the future family is important to the intelligent and intellectual Lisa, the mercantile and narrow-minded Nastya her material possibilities, and the main character, contradictory and sincere, open to everything new and unknown, the atmosphere of love between parents is important. The dreamy and sensitive Eight, who cannot even choose a normal name for herself, skips the time of the secondary application for the appearance of these parents, nevertheless, defines the Krainovs' family as their own, and Alexey and Inna as their own parents. At the same time, the Eight from the very beginning calls Inna and Alexey Mom and Dad, rapprochement with whom becomes the goal of the heroine's life in another world, in the so-called Management.

Thus, in the center of the narrative there is a rather contradictory character, the heroine in many ways is not just looking for her future path, but also desperately fighting for the right to be in this family. Very disorganized and disorderly, the Eight nevertheless immediately intuitively chooses a family, closely monitors what is happening there from their "heights", worries about quarrels and scandals in the family. At the same time, the heroine is ready for any risks and trials, just to be born into this family.

The Eight is not an outside observer of what is happening between Inna and Alexey, but also an active member of this family – she knows how to be compassionate, tries to give advice to people she perceives as relatives, and it is also she who is fighting for the family. All the thoughts and dreams of the heroine about a happy life in this family. She warmly and tremblingly perceives their house as her own. The main locus of the House is highlighted – the kitchen, where the characters meet, where they reconcile and sort out their relationships, but most importantly – enjoy communicating with each other. Ginger tea, which the characters drink in the happiest moments of their lives, becomes an important subject detail. However, in the story "The Eight", such a world is largely illusory for the heroine – she can only contemplate it through the screen of the device, and her thoughts and advice are inaccessible to future parents.

The real world of the house, presented in the story "Dear Rita", is also largely illusory, since the action takes place after dramatic events. The sister of the main character (here she already acquires a name, her name is Sasha) – Rita Krainova falls into a comatose state and stays in it for a long time. That is why the happy life of the Krainov family remains in the past, and each of the family members – dad, mom, grandmother and Sasha herself are forced to rethink their continued existence and adjust it to new circumstances. However, Rita's illness unexpectedly exposes all the problems of the Krainov family that existed before, but were not noticed or desired for emphasis.

The relationship between the parents has long cracked – that's why Sasha and Rita's grandmother dislikes her son–in-law, and Sasha remembers happy moments in the most difficult moments for herself, but connects them only with mom and Rita - dad seems not to be around. And the illness of Rita – the eldest and only native daughter of the Krainovs – alienates the father from the family. He is less and less at home, more and more irritated by trifles, more and more withdraws into himself and from his family. The conflict between the sisters is also becoming critical. Sasha is trying to recapture her lover from her older sister, and Rita, at the last moment before the misfortune, manages to tell Sasha about the terrible find in the parental documents – the certificate of adoption of her sister.

The emphasis is placed on the experiences of the main character. But it was envy and anger at Rita that first manifested in Sasha, then still an Eight in that Heavenly world – it was Rita, a nondescript ridiculous girl with red pigtails, who was ahead of the Eight by several hours and received permission to appear in the Krainov family. The author not only compares two similar situations – the heroine is overcome by feelings of jealousy, anger, a sense of injustice of what is happening, but also shows how the worked-out situation in that world softens resentment in this one. Then, to overcome the emotions, the Eight needed the intervention of Lisa's friend, the Caretaker, and the prudent Oleg. The idea of personal memory works already in this world, so anger and irritation at the bad messenger (Rita) is replaced by deep depression.  The heroine directs negative emotions not outside, but inside herself. So the writer comes to the second main question of a teenager's life – self-identification, self-education and awareness of her role in the family. The author deliberately thickens the colors and makes not Rita, but Sasha, the center of attraction of all troubles. The gossip girl Nastya blames her for Rita's illness, but she judges herself the most severely. She is sure that due to her oversight, Rich the dog runs away from home, Rita is sick, mom and dad, the people closest to her in the family are suffering, and she herself cannot sit next to her sister who is in a coma. The heroine sees only one reason – she is a stranger in the family, bringing suffering and disappointment to everyone.

Gradually and very carefully, Yakunina comes out on important aspects of the life of a modern teenager – the cooling of parents to each other, quarrels between sisters, envy towards another, etc. But the main thing is the difficult acceptance of a difficult reality as the drama of an adopted child who learns about it during the most difficult period of life – adolescence. However, the writer brings her characters to adulthood and wisdom. There is a way out of any situation, you just need to look at what is happening a little wider. Not all children can choose their own parents.  Two unsuccessful attempts to Appear lead to the fact that children are born not only in incomplete, but also in dysfunctional families. So, Sasha's biological mother becomes a drug-addicted prostitute who died in childbirth. At the same time, it is important to stay in the family itself, a sense of Home and kind, which places accents. At the same time, the mother becomes the main person in the life of any child – it does not matter whether it is biological or foster. And not only does the mother take care of her child, but the child must also give reciprocal feelings to those who love and care for him. So, Oleg is ready not only not to see his father, but also to protect and protect his mother even before the Appearance, and after Birth he faithfully and faithfully watches at the hospital where his mother is being treated for oncology. The author actualizes the problem of an optimistic view of the world primarily in connection with the images of Oleg and his mother, who, despite her hair falling out and weakness, immediately after discharge from the hospital, gets into a business rhythm, works on articles, helps children in search of an escaped dog, instills confidence in Sasha in Rita's recovery, but most importantly – in the need Sasha is for her family, first of all for her mother. Yakunin does not hide the more dramatic fates of children. For example, Eli's mom is a homeless person, she lives on the street in any weather, eats from garbage cans. This does not prevent the mother from taking care of her daughter, and Elya herself from remaining kind and affectionate and dreaming of a house that she will build for her mother. Elya also finds an original family – not only her mother becomes important to her, but also the animals with which she surrounds herself. It is not by chance that the dog Rich, who escaped from the Krainov family, finds refuge with Eli.

The main character herself gradually understands both her mission and her duty to her mother, who loves her as her own, does not divide two daughters into her own and adopted, takes care of her.

Thus, Maria Yakunina in her dilogy approaches very important and relevant problems for a child who has entered adolescence. This is also the attitude to others, not like myself, the relationship in the children's collective – school or friendly, but most importantly – the attitude to Home and family. In this regard, two issues are actualized – the choice of a family and self-identification in it, the responsibility of children and parents for the situation and the general atmosphere in the family, as well as the ideas of connecting different worlds and affirming life as the main value of a person.



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The article submitted for consideration "The theme of family and home in Maria Yakunina's dilogy "The Eight" and "Dear Rita", proposed for publication in the magazine "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the author's appeal to the study of the topic of family and the teenager in modern Russian-language fiction. The actualization of this issue in this article is due to the need to identify those aspects of the life of a modern teenager that are especially important in the formation of moral values, ways to further adulthood and socialization of a young person. The study of the problems of the relationship between adolescents and adults in the family and society on modern material has great theoretical and practical significance. In addition, the author refers to the work of a modern writer, winner of the All-Russian competition of works for children and youth "Kniguru", which requires study. It should be noted that there is a relatively small number of studies on this topic in Russian literary criticism. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian philology devoted to the study of such issues. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The works of art "The Eight" and "Dear Rita" were taken as the source of the research material. It should be noted that the theoretical fabrications were not illustrated by language examples, nor were the convincing data obtained during the study presented. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The study was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. It should be noted that the conclusion requires strengthening, it does not fully reflect the tasks set by the author and does not contain prospects for further research in line with the stated issues. The bibliography of the article includes 13 sources, among which works are presented in both Russian and English. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to the fundamental works of Russian researchers, such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. Technically, when making a bibliographic list, the generally accepted requirements of GOST are violated, namely, non-compliance with the alphabetical principle of registration of sources. The comments made are not significant and do not detract from the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses on text theory, as well as courses on interdisciplinary research on the relationship between language and society. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "The theme of family and home in Maria Yakunina's dilogy "The Eight" and "Dear Rita" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.
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