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“Mumu” is a story about how firmly the serf consciousness can be strengthened in a person and about the high price paid for inner freedom. Gerasim's act is absolutely illogical-he kills his beloved dog himself, and then leaves the lady. What for? He could have taken her with him instead of killing her… Could not. Gerasim is a serf, his father, grandfather and grandfather's grandfather were serfs. He does not understand how, in principle, you can disobey the lady. Even if she is stupid, weak, even if her orders are absurd and cruel.
Gerasim is the image of the Russian people. Powerful and … wordless. Unable to say ” no!”and”enough!” A strong man in the service of a stupid, self-made old woman. “Mumu” well illustrates Chekhov's catchphrase, which appeared only after more than 30 years – ” squeeze out the slave drop by drop.” Mumu's death is one such drop for Gerasim. Even Tatiana's wedding (equally unrequited and submissive) did not knock him out of his usual world. But it wasn't until he killed his pet with his own hands that he realized… I realized something. And he left the lady, although he could have done it long ago – no one would have stopped him. Except for the slave within himself.
An exhaustive answer was given by the wonderful Dmitry Bykov in the lecture ” Open lesson: What “Mumu” is about”, where everything is described in detail, up to why Gerasim needed to drown the dog before leaving. Listen, in a word.
The story of Mumu is a completely psychoanalytic story that can be interpreted using Lacan's theory of the three hypostases of the Possible: the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary. Mumu is the Imaginary of Gerasim, who vainly tries to make his way to the Real, bypassing the reality of social relations symbolized by the mistress of Gerasim, whose image is an emanation of the image of the typical Hegelian figure of the Master, symbolizing the so-called “Master”. The obscene side of Power, which is, to use Sigmund Freud's terminology, a kind of interpretation of the Unconscious as we might see it if Gerasim hadn't drowned Mumu. Mumu's drowning, therefore, is an unconscious attempt by Gerasim to restore the integrity of the Subject, his Ego, whose center is known to be a hidden feeling of pain that protects the subject from the traumatic reality of the Impossible Real.
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