In “Rabbits and boas” F. Iskander showed a totalitarian social system, demonstrated the mechanism of its action. The fairy tale is a detailed metaphor of the social order, in which there are three levels of hierarchy: boas headed by the Great Python swallowing rabbits; rabbits; natives who grow vegetables.
The world of rabbits and boas is a familiar, settled world, based on the unaccountable fear of some in front of others, on a private contract, according to which the crown of the rabbit’s kingdom condones the “swallowing” of rabbits with boas. Hypnotized by fear, rabbits do not even try to resist when they are swallowed by boas. The world of rabbits is a world of conformism, lies, a chain of denunciations and betrayals and – a general paralyzing fear.
In this rabbit kingdom there is a hierarchy. At the head of the state is the King, the manager with the help of two means – the fear and promise of the Colored Cabbage. Around him are grouped Admitted to the Table, whose place is sought by any means to take the Aspiring to be admitted. To achieve a dream, all means are good: headphones, conspiracy, betrayal, complicity in murder.
In folk tales of animals rabbits and boas represent two opposite forces. But in Iskander’s tale, this is not such a simple opposite. Here, not the allegory of power and cowardice is enclosed in animals: each of them, in the presence of generic qualities, is also individual.
Among rabbits there are individualities. A pondered Rabbit appeared, who discovered that rabbit fear is hypnosis, which makes rabbits impotent before boas. “Our fear is their hypnosis, their hypnosis is our fear.” If you overcome fear, then it’s not so easy to swallow a rabbit. But this discovery broke the system by which it is possible to manage rabbits reasonably with the help of hope – Colored Cabbage and fear. If the rabbits are not afraid, they will destroy hypnosis of fear, they will be vigilant before the enemy, then on one Cauliflower for a long time you will not last. Therefore, the violator of the harmonious system had to be eliminated. For this purpose, the resourceful, who knows how to whisper in time and where to jump up, is the best. He longs to be Admitted to... the Table, and for this he is ready to do whatever the King needs. He does not want to openly speak, since this would violate his reputation as a liberal, but he is ready to get favored by treachery. Therefore, he sings a song in which he delicately talks to the boas, where Ponderer is. But the resourceful himself is compromised, and the King sends him into exile in the desert to be eaten by boas. The witness and participant in the murder of Ponderer is destroyed. In this episode, a system typical of the repressive machine of a totalitarian state was reflected.
F. Iskander shows that in the kingdom of rabbits reigns rabbit psychology and mass hypnosis. When after the death of the Ponderer rabbits decided to rebel. The king appoints democratic elections, but before that he arranges a session of state gymnastics, which causes a “reflex submission”. “Rabbits, get up! Rabbits, sit down! Rabbits, stand up! Rabbits, sit down!” The King said ten times in a row, gradually increasing the tension and speed of the team along with the music… “Rabbits, who’s for me?” The King shouted, and the rabbits did not managed to wake up, as they found themselves with their paws raised. ” “State gymnastics” is a profound metaphor of ideological propaganda processing in a totalitarian society leading to unanimity. No wonder “The king again came in a cheerful mood,
When Ponderer discovered that hypnosis is the fear of rabbits, and rabbits stopped being afraid of boas, this was a threat not only to the welfare of the rabbit kingdom with its dream of the Colored Cabbage. This shattered the kingdom of boas. And here is the Boa constrictor who found a new way of treating rabbits without hypnosis. This new way is strangulation. “And what is the upper and lower limit of strangulation?” asked one of the boas. This is a physical, economic, moral strangulation. F. Iskander builds his fairy tale so that allusions arise. The period of authoritarian power was replaced by a more “humane” when dissent was not physically destroyed, but was strangled morally. After the death of Great Python, the society “was democratized”: “After the accession of the Hermit, the life of boas and rabbits entered a new, but deeper and more even track,