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Literature / Bend Sinister

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A 1947 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. This work became his second experiment in the genre of dystopia tinged by Black Comedy after Invitation to a Beheading.


Bend Sinister contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Krug is the definitely the one. He is very snarky and at times attacks people just for fun.
  • Berserk Button: If you hurt David Krug will be very angry.
  • Black Comedy: Not the most obvious example because the events are mostly grim however ineffeciency of the dictatorship makes it hilarious. At times
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  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: For Krug. They are mentioned several times.
  • Dull surprise: "The two sisters joined the men and looked on with bored amusement" when the protagonist is being beaten up and arrested and his child mistreated in front of him.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: After the revolution in the new, dystopian society food shortages promptly set in
  • Egopolis: Paduk rules in the city named Padukgrad.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: The opening scene has the main character caught on the bridge in the night. The guards on both sides are sending him to the opposite site to have his pass signed. When he finally receives a fake signature on his pass from the guards on the first side and crosses the bridge the watch on the second side is gone.
    • subverted as the regime trying to coerce Krug into submission arrests several of his friends to blackmail him.
  • The Generalissimo: Paduk also known as a Toad is the dictator in the Padukgrad.
  • The Lost Lenore: Olga for Adam Krug. She dies shortly before the beginning of the novel.
  • Meaningful Name: Krug means "round" in Russian.
    • Also Adam is "the man".
  • Papa Bear: Adam to his son David. Paduk bases his gambit on his affection. It backfires because of poor execution.
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  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Played with: Krug, the protagonist of the novel, is a self-admitted former bully to his classmate Paduk (Toad) whom he was continuously mistreating for five years. Now Paduk is a cruel dictator and Krug a scholar celebrity. Krug has not completely changed his ways, behaving cruel and like somewhat of a bully to various undeserving people. Panduk anyway has an exclusive chance to get even with him.
  • Shout-Out: Padukgrad might remind some of Leningrad.
  • Vacation Episode: Adam Krug and his son David make a trip to the country to visit their friends who are abducted by the Paduk's security service exactly during their stay with them to put pressure on Paduk.
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