Study Guides for Land of the Firebird

Chapter 12

  1. What are some examples of folk culture?
  2. What was the attitude of elegant society toward folk culture?
  3. What was the peasants' attitude toward foreign cultures and the culture of elegant society?
  4. What do you think is the meaning of these Russian proverbs?
    1. The Devil is always dressed in the latest fashion
    2. The truth has seven sides
    3. The stranger's soul is murky
    4. To know a man you ahve to eat 16 puds (600 pounds) of salt with him
    5. Fear life, not death
    6. If you don't oil the wheels, you won't get there
    7. A feast is only happy when everyone is drunk
    8. One opinion does not make a proverb
    9. Don't rejoice in the misfortune of others. Yours is there in teh vegetable paatch.
  5. Why did foreigners consider Russians barbarians?
  6. How did Russians address each other when meeting?
  7. What are some of the customs associated with bathing.
  8. How did Russians act when drinking?
  9. What does the word "krestyanin" mean?
  10. What is a person's Name Day?
  11. How did the church calendar regulate the activities of peasant life? Give examples.
  12. What was the peasant's relationship with God like? 1
  13. Explain the following statement by Massie about Russians: "This calm acceptance of the fate and the sympathy for human suffering are perhaps the greatest strengths of the Russian people and the most basic expression of Russian Christianity."
  14. What was the Russian's attitude toward superstitions?
  15. How did Russians show reverence to ancestors? Why do you think they plant trees by their graves?
  16. What are "rusalki"?
  17. What is a "domovoy"?
  18. What are some Russian popular beliefs and superstitions? name some.
  19. What are some of the superstitions associated with bears?
  20. How are Russian folk tales different from German ones?
  21. Who are some of the characters in Russian folktales?
  22. What can you say about the tradition of singing and folksongs?
  23. Describe the old wedding rituals.

Chapter 13

  1. Massie claims that the variety, beauty and craftsmanship of Russian folk arts belie the stereotype of the Russian peasant as a "gloomy, downtrodden creature" and demonstrate a "jubilant attitude toward life." What are some examples of these folk arts at which the Russians excelled?
  2. Use of wood for construction. (See picture of the Church of the Transfiguration in Firebird.
  3. Use of the ax.
  4. How were houses decorated on the outside? on the inside?
  5. What is a matryoshka?
  6. What is a samovar, and how does it work?
  7. What is the Tsar Bell?
  8. What did the traditional peasant dress look like?
  9. What is a kokoshnik?