The specifics of the deer’s image creation in M. Zverev’s story «White deer»

Man’s relationship with the animal world has always remained as one of the most important human society aspects, and has reflected in the culture and literature of different eras. The appearance of ppaarr-ticular works about animals allowed to allocate them in a typological series, and this has led the fact that now animalistic genre is considered as completely independent genre variety of modern prose.

A number of researchers have attempted to establish a typology of animalistic images. So, Kozlova A.G. in the work [1] identified three different approaches in animals’ image creation and, in fact, three types of images:

  • сreation of animals’ image as real beings. They are wild and domestic animals;
  • giving animals human qualities. They are allegorical images;
  • giving the animal a magical force. They are the animals which became positive character’s marvelous helpers.

Let us consider these types of images in detail. Speaking of the last-mentioned type of animal images, we note the images that are found in fairy tales about animals. Here are some examples of Russian fairy tales. Animals and birds are endowed with magical powers, which capable of overcoming all obstacles on the protagonist’s way. In the fairy tale «Little Humpbacked Horse» the helper of peasant’s son Ivan the Fool is endowed with a special quality to fly and talk with which helps the main character of fairy tale more than once to get out of trouble. Hen Ryaba from the the fairy tale lay not the simple, but golden egg, around which has been concentrated main characters’ main action of the fairy tale.

Next type of animals’ image is giving them human qualities, it is an allegorical image. The appearance of this animals’ representation type is explained by several factors: 1) writers’ philosophical views;

2) the use of animalistic images for solving acute social and moral problems. For example, one of the brightest examples of setting moral and aesthetic problems in animalistic prose is Jack London’s work «White Fang». The main idea of the story is the creation of wolf’s image as a part of the natural world, a creature able to quite reasonable behavior. The author comes to the realization that people need «true allies» among animals. Jack London shows wolf’s noble qualities as a sense of gratitude, loyalty, devotion, which sometimes does not occur among the people.

M. Auezov’sstory«Kokserek» is oftencompared with the Jack London’s story and his character (wolf) is considered as one of the national prototypes of the White Fang. However, the relationship between these works is determined only on the thematic level. «Of course, M. Auezov translated into Kazakh in 1938 Jack London’s «White Fang» at the behest of the hunter’s great passion, which has lived in his soul. But when he wrote «Kokseres», he, as a person and artist, was higher, far above this passion», – writes Vikariy S. [2], and we fully share this opinion.

The main thing in «Kokseres», in our opinion is man’s desire to know ourselves through being of wildlife. The basic idea of the famous Kazakh works of classics is a human belief in the unity of all generated by nature beings, in the unity of man and nature.

Wolf for M. Auezov is a magnificent animal. Rejecting the well-fed, but not a free life in the village, killing a boy Kurmash, who brought up it, Wolf proved thereby its isolation in nature, the right to privacy and freedom. Thus, before us appears mythical image of the wolf.

In the nineteenth century Russian realist writers discovered psychological analysis techniques, used for the disclosure of the nature, motives of a human character, which has been used successfully by writers-animalists in the creation of animal images. As the main character of animalistic prose is an animal, it is legitimate to use the term «animalistic psychology» as a service term in the future.

The researcher Kozlova A.G. gives the following interpretation of the term: «an animalistic psychology denotes methods of psychological analysis, used in relation to the animal’s image» [1, 26].

Animalist writers often use such means of psychologization as a psychological portrait, inner monologue, the memories, the image of animal’s internal state, character, dreams and more.

Theconsequenceofwidespreaduseofanimalistic psychologism rightly considered the appearance of such a specific reception of psychologism, as the reception of animal humanization. Reception of animal humanization «is supposed to give the animal consciousness, internal structure of emotions, the ability to think and understand the person» [1, 31].

The way of animal humanization has the following means:

  • assignment of an animal’s ability to speak;
  • assignment of an animal’s ability to think;
  • assimilation of animal behavior to human;
  • reception of humanization in creation of animal’s «portrait»;
  • description of the internal state.

Currently, the term anthropomorphism is widely used in the scientific literature. In S. Ozhegov’s eexx-planatory dictionary is given the following definition of it: «Anthropomorphism (greek anthropos ‘man’ and morphe ‘view, form’.) is endowing human qualities, likening of the man» [3].

The brightest anthropomorphic images are found in M.A. Bulgakov’s works. Thus, in the novel «Heart of a Dog» is highly humanized the image of Sharik.

The third group of images is central in our study. Creation of animals’ image as real beings is typical for many writers-animalists. M. Prishvin, V. Bianki, E. Charushin and others were familiar with the world of animals. Animalist writers assimilate many years of experience, observation of the animals, and try to represent with extreme precision the characteristics of their behavior. Along with the famous Russian writers, as «singers of nature» it is also the name of the Kazakh animalist writer, zoologist, scientist Maksim Dmitrievich Zverev. M. Zverev’s works are characterized by a combination in itself the elements of documentary, fiction and non-fiction prose. On the basis of M. Zverev’s works lies his own life material which represent scientific study of animals’ and birds’ habits and are shown as inside.

Writer’s creative style characterizes desire for accuracy, brevity, veracity, as well as informational narrative.

There are no superfluous words which obscure the meaning in M. Zverev’s works. Several precise, laconic phrases clearly disclose often with humor the animals’ behavior and detail the scenes of nature.

As we have mentioned, M. Zverev’s creative activity is determined by the veracity and humanity. About this feature of his manner said A.L. Zhovtis in his article «The discovery of surprising world»:

«Zverev’s organic dislike to the common trend of «humanisation» and at the same time careful attention to the unsolved mysteries of animal life, apparently, has determined the characteristic of his style of writing, which can be called etudes» [4, 132]. The writer himself was quite critical of anthropomorphic images of animals: «In my opinion, – noted M. Zverev – in the opinion of the person, who gave 25 years of his life purely scientific work, immoderate anthropomorphism in the literature is not only unacceptable, but also harmful. It distorts our understanding of the nature essence and its phenomena» [5, 113].

Initially, the term «animal genre» was applied to the works of painting, sculpture and graphics.

Animal artist paid special attention to animal’s artshaped characteristic, its habits, its habitat. Therefore, it may be noted that the animal genre originally combined the art and science beginning.

Gradually, the term began to appear in the literary works. Analysis of the animalistic works leads to the conclusion that not all the work, where acts animal characters, can be attributed to this genre. Those works, in which animals’ images are dominated by the allegorical meaning and in which allegorical function is very large, are not animalistic. Animalistic may be only those works in which the animal is a real representative of the natural world. The life story, or some facts from the animal life is the main sign of the animalistic work’s genre structure. The animal image in work should embody its natural essence.

In particular, M. Zverev in the story «White deer» aims to show animal’s natural image with its habits. It is obvious that if the writer had humanised it, the image of deer would lose its natural beginning and would be purely allegorical. However, for M.Zverev it was important to keep white deer’s real image, show it appearance, in some way, look into its «inner world». This is how the author-narrator describes white deer’s behavior, «Maralenok felt fear for the first time in its life. Not seeing near its mother, it piteously moaned ...» [6, 225].

M. Zverev does not give his Bugu (socalled white deer) any human qualities, human consciousness and although in some cases author narrates about deer as if it is about a human being («Head despondently fallen down. The legs buckled. His eyes were half closed» [6, 218]), still he does not allow the reader forget that the white deer is a smart, proud creature, but it is a representative of the animal world.

Thus, animalistic characters in M. Zverev’s novel, in spite of its proximity to the people, are not endowed with human traits, and only are perceived as the realities of the natural world.

Decisive importance in the image of deer belongs to the author’s narrative. The author tells the story of what happens with deer, what takes place in its mind: «Around Bugu’s refuge placed the horses. Their smell reminded deer first trip on the back of Amanchin’s horse. He even deeper was hammered into a pile of the crust» [6, 227]. From the beginning, the narrator constantly emphasizes that the subject of the image are the real representatives of the nature world with the typical features and peculiarities of behavior of its own species.

Thus, in the creation of animal image M. Zverev adheres to specific rules. Animal genre is based primarily on a good knowledge of domestic and wild animals’ natural features, their «psychology», and, of course, the special position of the author, a humanistic orientation of the whole work.

M. Zverev’s works, opening a new stage in the disclosure of the nature theme, are very popular among readers. Criticism is not just noted Kazakhstani writer’s innovation in the study of nature themes, flora and fauna of our country. About M. Zverev’s unique contribution in fiction on the theme of nature has written more than 170 articles, among their authors – M. Prishvin, V. Bianchi, P. Manteuffel, many Russian and Kazakh writers, journalists and eminent scientists.

M. Zverev in creating animalistic images is different in that he shows not a single episode from the life of a deer, but traces animal’s whole life in a chronological order. Decisive importance in the creation of white deer’s image is author’s narration, which includes a description of animal’s appearance and behavior, as well as «decoding of internal state».

M.Zverev has a great authority among the scientific world. «M. Zverev is not only a writer. He is a scientist, zoologist, author of the acclaimed and always cited works, devoted to mammals and birds. Therefore, in his literary works it beats the pulse of nature» [7, 127].



  1. Kozlova A.G. Animalistic theme in contemporary Soviet prose and traditions of Russian classical literature.Diss. cand. Philology Sciences. – Kharkov, 1990. – 183 p.
  2. Vikariy S.M. Auezov – U.Folkner // Prostor. – 1993. – №10. – P. 181-185.
  3. Ozhegov S.I., Shvedova N.Iu. Explanatory dictionary of Russian language. [Electronic resource]. – http://www.ozhegov. com/words/582.shtml
  4. Shashkova L. Memories about Maksim Zverev: literary memory / comp. L. Shashkova. – Almaty: Bilim, 2005. – 192 p.
  5. Dzholdasbekova B.U., Kakilbaeva I.T. Russian writers of Kazakhstan: a biographical directory. – Almaty: Kazakh University, 2011. – 203 p.
  6. Zverev M.D. Pantry of wonders: Novels and Stories. – M., 1984. – 377 p.
  7. Akasheva S.S. Maksim Dmitrievich Zverev. The secrets of wildlife: monograph / Ed. K.K. Abugaliyeva. – Almaty: Central Scientific Library, 2011. – 200 p.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2016
City: Almaty
Category: Philology