Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Madhouse - post V

In part three of the book the point of view changes from that of the junior research fellow (JRF) to a senior technical assistant (STA) who is even more cynical than JRF about the state of communism. He has reached the heights of being JRF but was demoted back down to a STA because he made up his research, stole ideas and was incredibly lazy. Now he manages to live in his sleep and shut out the parts of the daily grind that annoy him.

Bullet points from pages 264 - 322

* The STA has seen a bit of life and is highly cynical about the state if not just Russia but also the world at large having an incredibly cynical attitude about those in positions of leadership

* He manages to lose his chances of promotion by stealing research from the provinces and trying to pass it off as his own and then because he becomes a model parasite that lives off the system without contributing much

* Partly in reaction to something that is compulsory anyway but because if you volunteer you don’t have to go the next year STA signs up to work on the collective farm that is connected to the academy

* On the farm he is put in a group with JRF who seems to have no opinions on anything but still manages to provoke an interest but it is the woman running the place that brings most people together because of her ridiculous views on the West

* Crops are stolen and sold and the system of targets and numerical trading between collective farms exposes the hollowness of the entire system and adds more fuel to the anti-communist fire that STA is happy stirring up

More tomorrow...

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