Discussion Questions

by dianaquan

Miranda’s lecture today honestly covered a lot of the questions that were floating around my head while reading The Master and Margarita. Regardless, here are a few discussion questions.

1. I’m not sure if anyone picked up on this, but i noticed that there was the mention of several types of birds throughout the course of the novel, such as the sparrow in the tale of Pontius Pilate and Margarita calling herself an owl while sitting on the bench just to name a few. So my question is: how do the appearance of these birds contribute to the text in any way? I haven’t figured it out yet myself, so I am curious as to what the rest of you may think about this.

1b. On a similar note, do the mention of the other animals, besides Behemoth, in the book play significance to the plot? Why does Bulgakov use animal characteristics to describe humans and objects? (the frogs, the hog, the candelabrum with branches in the form of snakes)

2. In a discussion about the text so some other members of other seminar groups, someone pointed out that the characters in the book all had several names in which they were referred to. Sometimes they would be addressed as their occupation, their first names or their last names (or maybe their nicknames? Yes, I’m referring to “Homeless”). Why does Bulgakov decide to address the same characters with different names in the same passages? 

3. In a couple sections in the book, it hints at a potential maternal curiosity in Margarita. When Margarita sees the little boy in the window, why does she take the time to stop and comfort him in the midst of the chaos? Why does Margarita show interest in the story about the infant and the handkerchief?

4. Why does a select number of characters use the phrase, “God knows”, while the rest of the characters address the devil instead?

Sorry for the delay! I didn’t realize this was set on private until now…