The Babushka is a beloved stereotype in Russian culture that is portrayed as a wise granny who is the epitome of perfection as a grandparent. They enjoy dotting on their grandchildren, and show an immediate willingness to take care of a newborn baby because “she knows best” (Yudina). Babushkas are seen as a constant provider to their families and never fail to stuff their relatives with their skilled cooking whilst complaining that they have gotten so pale and thin in their absence (Yudina). In Ludmilla Petrushevskaya 's “The Time: Night”, the image of the toiling Babushka, the matriarch that provides in silence, is shattered. This contributes to the telling of a cynical and harsh Russia following the simultaneous political and economic reform after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Anna Andriovna struggles to live up to the Babushka role, but fails due to her conflict with choosing the benevolent course of action opposed to the ones that will keep her household afloat, and also due the terrible economic situation in Russia reflected in the story.
Anna attempts to emulate the Babushka with Tima, the first grandson. Her affection toward Tima is readily apparent, and can extend to borderline disturbing at times. Anna describes Tima as “My happiness, my little one. [..] You smell of flowers. When you were little I used to say that your potty smelled like a wild meadow, your unwashed hair of phlox” (Petrushevskaya 21). Anna is very protective of Tima, and refuses to give Alena the child support in fear that the money would not go toward providing for Tima. But when Alena gave birth to Katya and called Anna using protein in her urine as a front, Anna could only think of i...
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...zed in defense by regions tried to shift to domestic goods in vain (Baranov). The people in Russia could not longer live as they did, and with the lack of social services, many turned to drinking and drugs as crime rapidly raised (Baranov). This cynical situation where Anna 's attempts to be a traditional and benevolent Babushka just wasn 't feasible, and reflects the harsh and dire times of post Soviet Russia where there was no work and no hope.
Anna is a struggling matriarch trying to live up to the Babushka stereotype during a time of chaos and transition. Every action of benevolence she takes in order to fulfill that role ends up being a mistake that ultimately pushes her family away from her. The environment dictates your actions, and “The Time: Night” depicted a bleak time in Russia that shows the futility of benevolent actions when the world is against you.
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