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Hasek's Anarchist Beliefs Revealed In The Good Soldier Svejk

1248 words - 5 pages

Jaroslav Hasek, one of the most famous Czech authors from the late 19th and early 20th century, created one of the Czech Republic’s greatest novels in The Good Soldier Svejk. Throughout The Good Soldier Svejk, Hasek not only tells the story of Svejk, but also tells multiple stories through the voice of Svejk. Clearly this is no coincidence and Hasek is using the stories within a story to make comments upon each other, but what exactly are these comments? Ultimately we must look into specific stories by Svejk and see how they demonstrate parts of Hasek’s anarchist beliefs as well as providing a sense of comedic humor and ridiculousness on Svejk’s part.
Right from the get go Svejk begins by telling Mrs. Muller two stories after hearing that the Archduke Ferdinand had been assassinated. In his stories Svejk tells of a man who failed to pay his bar bill, had to be taken away in a drunks’ cart to sober up and eventually hangs himself in jail. In his second story is from when Svejk was in the army and a fellow infantryman shot his captain and destroyed an ink bottle which messed up several important documents. From these stories alone you can begin to see how Svejk stories will comment on what has happened in the actual story of Svejk. Svejk stories of the man who was drunk and the man who shot his captain provides comedic relief to the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand, and lessens the severity and intensity of what has happened. Svejk, being your standard Czech citizen, acts as if the death of Ferdinand is nothing, basically saying so what I have been through and seen far worse than one man just being shot. Svejk furthers this notion of “so what” by stating that he would have “bought a Browning for a job like that.” Of course comedic relief is not the only purpose for the stories as Hasek has a greater motive. Starting the story immediately with the assassination of Ferdinand and having Svejk act as if it is nothing, tends to show Hasek’s anarchist side. Hasek, being one who does not believe in the way governments control its citizens, sees this death of Ferdinand as nothing powerful, but just a transition from man’s control to another. Thus, with Svejk telling a story with a “so what” attitude, we can see that Hasek is going to use the Svejk stories as his voice to paint the picture of his anarchist beliefs.
Of course this one example is not enough to conclude that Hasek is in fact using Svejk to display his anarchist motives and Czech opinion so we must move further into The Good Soldier Svejk. While Svejk is in his cell waiting to be examined by the medical expert, he has an open dialogue with his neighbors who call the experts nothing but mistaken “swine.” Svejk of course has several stories about people who have made mistakes. We are told about three human mistakes: a gentleman who accidently knocked Svejk with a knout one evening, another gentleman who brought home a half-frozen dog only to have it thaw out and attack his wife and...

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