Alexander Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades" Book Review by Writing Specialists

Alexander Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades"
This paper describes the character Hermann in Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades."
# 91928 | 1,300 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2007 | US
Published on Feb 08, 2007 in Literature (Russian) , English (Analysis)

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This paper explores the various layers of meaning in Alexander Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades." The focus of analysis in this paper is the character Hermann and his obsession with cards. The author points out the dramatic nature of Pushkin's story by focusing on the final card game, and showing how it is a metaphor for life.

From the Paper:

"At the beginning of the story, Hermann is not a gambler because he lacks the resources to be a gambler, but he does express an interest in gambling. As his friend says, "He's never held a card in his hand, never doubled a single stake in his life, and yet he sits up until five in the morning watching us play" (Pushkin 844). Hermann admits that the game fascinates him, but he also states that "I am not in the position to sacrifice the essentials of life in the hope of acquiring the luxuries" (Pushkin 844). Hermann is presented as an outsider, and he is identified as "the son of a Russianized German, from whom he had inherited a small amount of money" (Pushkin 850). Another soldier sees Hermann as reflecting certain German characteristics, stating that Hermann is "calculating," meaning in this case that he calculates his chances of winning and does not want to take the risk of losing because he sees his chances to be slim. His obsession with the cards once he hears the story is understandable, for having the secret of the card play would give him an advantage and reduce his chances of losing. This is figured into his calculation, and so he now wants the secret to pursue his interest in gambling with superior knowledge."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bayley, John. "Pushkin's Tales." Partisan Review Vol. LIX(2)(Spring 1992), pp. 197 215.
  • Calder, Alexander. Russia Discovered: Nineteenth-Century Fiction from Pushkin to Chekhov. London: Barnes and Noble, 1976.
  • Helfant, Ian M. The High Stakes of Identity: Gambling in the Life and Literature of Nineteenth-Century Russia. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2002.
  • Pushkin, Alexander. "The Queen of Spades." In The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, Volume 2, Maynard Mack (ed.), 844-863. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.
  • Vickery, Walter N. Alexander Pushkin. New York: Twayne, 1970.

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