In the story “Figures” Bunin describes the quarrel of the little restless boy Zhenya and his uncle. The story begins with a stage of forgiveness, when a little boy, looking in the evening to his uncle before going to bed, wishes that good night and, unable to resist, turns to his uncle with the long-suffering request. “And, please, show me the numbers!” – exclaims Zhenya, full of fear that a strict uncle can again refuse. Uncle hesitates with an answer, because he is “very, very smart.”
Zhenya is not just a boy, he is a happy owner of wonderful things, picture books, pencil case, always colored pencils. In the morning, barely opening his eyes, little Zhenya called his uncle into his bedroom, showering the adult with requests. The boy quickly wanted to dig into the figures, get a children’s magazine, books, pencils and paper.
Uncle did not want to shop. That’s why he lied about the royal day to Genet. The royal day, everything
is locked, he told his nephew. Zhenya and his uncle did not agree, but he relented, because his uncle threatened that if Zhenya bothers with requests, she will not get anything.
Although there are no shops working on the royal day, there is no decree prohibiting the boys from showing figures in the royal days. Then the grandmother Zhenya intervened. She told her grandson not to pester her uncle, or else a policeman would appear behind them and arrest those who decided to show figures on the royal day. Uncle resolutely dismissed such a statement and simply admitted to Zhenya that now he was reluctant to deal with figures. In the evening or tomorrow, it’s better tomorrow, he will definitely spend time with his nephew and introduce Zhenya to the figures.
Zhenya reacted to such a promise skeptically. In the end, who knows, how long can the long-awaited tomorrow go on? No, the boy decided, he needs the figures today. Uncle saw how the boy was exhausted at the threshold of the great discovery, waiting for the wise guide, ready to show him a new world. A guide, it turns out, is not in the spirit of
showing figures. In addition, my uncle decided firmly, and it is not necessary to indulge children with concessions.
Zhenya was not himself all day. It was impossible to calm him. He rushed around the house, overturned chairs, shouted, and at dinner chatted with his feet. Joy, mixed with impatience, turned into an evil prank, which caused a quarrel between the boy and the uncle.
Sitting behind the evening tea, Zhenya came up with a new game. The boy jumped, kicked himself on the floor and shouted so loudly that the adults sitting at the table “almost bursted with eardrums.” Zhenya was repeatedly asked to stop the fun, but will the child listen, all in anticipation of a joyful tomorrow. Therefore, when once again Zhenya shouted and hit with his feet, my uncle broke from the spot, grabbed the boy, slapped, twisted around his axis and put it outside the door. At that moment, the devil himself pelted his uncle with a whole tub of anger.
Eugene burst into tears. I cried plaintively and for a long time, but no one came to him for the whole evening, not even my mother, nor even my grandmother, although it was hardest for her. The uncle himself looked into the nephew’s room later, and the adult’s heart contracted from what he saw. Little Zhenya was sitting on the floor and playing with empty boxes of matches.
Gloomy and sullen, hoarse from the scream, he declared that he did not like his uncle, and would even take away the present penny. The attempts of reconciliation, undertaken by Mom and grandmother Zhenya, did not lead to anything. In the end, the adults pretended to forget about the offended child. But, wise grandmother found a way out. Who, she asked Zhenya, will show you the figures. You can buy a pencil case and books, but you can not buy figures for any money. Zhenya was broken.
He reconciled with his uncle. The evening caught a smart adult and restless boy for a simple occupation. Zhenya, slobbering a stub of a pencil, deduced magic mysterious figures on paper, and his uncle sat enjoying the boy’s joy, smelling the smell of children’s hair. Zhenya perpetually lost count, and the adult tirelessly corrected him and watched as the boy deduced figure three, “as a large capital E.”