Ivan Turgenev wrote his story "Mumu" in 1852, but it remains relevant to this day. The story of the deaf-mute Gerasim, who drowned his beloved dog on the orders of the hostess, is studied in modern schools, and teachers give children essays on the topic "Why Gerasim Drowned Mumu." So how can you explain Gerasim's act from the point of view of psychology?
The plot of the story
The deaf-mute janitor Gerasim, serving the old lady, had a beloved - the washerwoman Tatyana, a piece of bread and a roof over his head. Once Gerasim rescues a drowning dog from the water and decides to keep it for himself, giving the rescued the nickname "Mumu". Over time, the janitor becomes firmly attached to the animal and takes care of it as if it were his own child. Especially his feelings towards Mum are strengthened after the lady passes off his beloved Tatyana for the alcoholic Kapiton, without asking her consent to this marriage.
In those days, the landowners were known for their complete impunity and bad attitude towards serfs.
Once the lady heard Mumu barking at night and ordered Gerasim to drown the dog that annoyed her. The lady did not feel pity for the animals, since in the old days dogs were considered exclusively the guards of the yard, and if they could not protect it from robbers, there was no use from them. Gerasim, as a simple serf without the right to vote, could not disobey the mistress, so he had to get into a boat and drown his only creature dear to him. Why didn't Gerasim just let Mumu go free?
Everything was gradually taken away from Gerasim - his village, peasant work, his beloved woman and, finally, a dog, to which he became attached with all his heart. He killed Mumu, because he realized that attachment to her made him dependent on feelings - and since Gerasim constantly suffered from losses, he decided that this loss would be the last in his life. Not the least role in this tragedy was played by the psychology of the serf, who knew from an early age that the landlords should not be disobeyed, as this is fraught with punishment.
In the old days, the Orthodox Church denied the presence of a soul in all animals, so they got rid of them with ease and indifference.
At the end of Turgenev's story, it is said that Gerasim never again approached the dogs and did not take anyone as his wife. From a psychological point of view, he realized that it was love and affection that made him dependent and vulnerable. After the death of Mum, Gerasim had nothing to lose, so he did not give a damn about serfdom and returned to the village, thus protesting against the tyrant mistress. Gerasim could have left Mumu alive - however, he was tormented by the fear that the lady would come up with a more terrible punishment for her, which would have made Gerasim tormented even more, so he preferred to take her life from her with his own, not someone else's hands.