“The Bathhouse” -Mikhail Zoshchenko (1924)
Zoshchenko’s satirical works within the context of defining what revolutionary culture exactly is provide a very interesting perspective, specifically from the other side so to speak. Revolutionary culture appears to be riddled with state sponsored dogma and a bombardment of reinforcing idealogical state views. Mikhail Zoshchenko sits on the other side, and like so many other satirists in other cultures, he provides the crucial “poke holes in system” hilarious take through his work to get underneath the new government’s skin.
“The Bathhouse” is a short piece done by Zoshchenko in 1924 about a man going to a bathhouse in the new state. The bathhouse provides the perfect setting for the author to address his qualms with the new administration through sarcasm, satire, and humor. It seems at every turn of the narrator’s experience he runs into some bureaucratic nightmare, expressed through trivial mishaps in the bathhouse. For example: “They gave me two tickets. One for my linen, and the other for my hat and coat. But where is a naked man going to put tickets?” Expressing well the frustration of everyday citizen’s grievances with the new system of governance.
I think the piece is done so well because it takes these grievances and puts them in an extremely relatable context with the bathhouse setting. This also aids in the ability for citizens to relate to the upheaval they experienced in such a short period of time.