FAMINE AS A SPIRITUAL ORDEAL: NARRATIVE AND RECEPTIVE STRATEGIES IN V. PIDMOHYLNYI’S SHORT STORIES «THE DOG» AND «THE BREAD ISSUE»

Keywords: small fiction, receptive strategy, narrative strategy, modernist poetics, V. Pidmohylnyi

Abstract

Background. Small fiction by the Ukrainian modernist writer V. Pidmohylnyi testifies to his search for artistic devices seeking to bring an author-reader aesthetic communication to a new level. The writer’s texts are simple and at the same time complicated. They appeal to both an unprepared, and a professional reader with their expressiveness, polyphony, ambiguity of interpretation. Particularly, short stories «The Dog» and «The Bread Issue» represent a good material for comparison in terms of a common idea (famine as a spiritual ordeal), identical type of main character (a promising student) and different textual strategies. Purpose. The article seeks to highlight receptive and narrative strategies in V. Pidmohylnyi’s short stories «The Dog» and «The Bread Issue». Methods. The article employs basic techniques of narratology and receptive aesthetics as well as additional cultural and sociological analysis techniques. Results. Neither of these short stories give a clear-cut answer to the central question, toward which the reader is pushed by their desire to «complete» the plot: how will the famine ordeal end? Will a person still be able to uphold their values if they have prioritized spiritual development in normal setting, but committed a crime under famine-caused crisis? The texts reflect the author’s strategy that seeks not to look for answers to key questions of the present or reasons for tragic events, but to highlight mental processes people are aware or unaware of. For this purpose, the writer puts at center young people familiar with prominent philosophical movements and capable of self-analysis. In «The Bread Issue», he resorts to I-narrative with a diary-like account. «The Dog» focuses on the character’s inner world. The subjectivity of a depiction angle is combined with a protocol accuracy of capturing characters’ emotional, cognitive, and physiological responses. Discussion. The concept of V. Pidmohylnyi’s «The Bread Issue» and «The Dog» as texts open for professional reception and meaning-based interpretation is the writer’s innovation. The author builds texts in such a way that the reader is encouraged to independently ask questions and look for appropriate answers. Depending on the interpretation vector, the texts composition and genre peculiarities can be interpreted differently. In V. Pidmohylnyi’s texts, personality’s dominant existential ideas survive the test of physiological being and are embodied via mimesis of the character’s bodily experience. The writer’s flash fiction represents a productive material for further research from the literary sociology viewpoint.

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Published
2021-07-29
How to Cite
Kropyvko, I., & Budilova, O. (2021). FAMINE AS A SPIRITUAL ORDEAL: NARRATIVE AND RECEPTIVE STRATEGIES IN V. PIDMOHYLNYI’S SHORT STORIES «THE DOG» AND «THE BREAD ISSUE». Journal “Ukrainian sense”, 1(1), 21*29. https://doi.org/10.15421/462102