Monday, October 24, 2016

MasterAndMargareadalong Post IV: Is that vodka?

It's Monday which means another MasterAndMargareadalong post! Thank you, Alice, for hosting this fever dream of a readalong. Now let's jump right into Devil Dance Party
Woland is having a ball and Margarita has to play hostess, as we learned in the last section. She has to wear a picture of a poodle around her neck because sure. That's what I think of when I think of Devil night wear.

Guests start popping out of coffins that are falling out of the fireplace and it's very exhausting to stand there and wave to people and her arm and leg get super tired. Also there's some racist shit happening here, with a jazz band turning into gorillas and other apes and
Anyway, it's a few hours of this and finally Woland shows up but he's dressed all in rags, which really, everyone else dressed up. Mikhail's (tram death guy from the first section) head is brought out on a platter and while talking over it they kill some guy that was eavesdropping on the party and drink his blood out of the head (or the head becomes a cup. I'm a little confused here). Woland's clothes now turn into something suited for a ball but it's also pretty much time for the ball to end. Also Margarita drinks some of this blood and this should be coming back up, right? I would assume so but who knows with this book.
Me at all times with this book
All of the guests (save for the guy who ended up murdered) had all done terrible things so I guess they're all in Hell but you get to go to fancy parties so seems like an odd version of Hell. Unless they were all really shy people and this is their version of Hell. One of the women attending, Frieda(?), had smothered her child with a handkerchief which yes, very not good but Margarita points out the man that abandoned them should also share part of the blame. Frieda also seems to be the only one tormented for what she did, as a handkerchief follows her around, which seems more like what you'd expect Hell to be like. But I don't know why she's the only one that seems to be punished. Maybe cos she's upset about it? The others seem pretty happy with all the murders they committed so I guess the lesson here is own your terribleness?
Oh hey, also why did all of the women have to be naked but the dudes were all dressed up fancy?

After the party the gang is hanging out in Woland's room and at this point Margarita is expecting her wish to be granted, since that was the deal. But no one seems to be paying attention and Azazello and Behemoth have a shooting contest. Finally they ask Margarita what she wants and instead of asking for the Master she asks that Frieda be forgiven. Which is sweet and is granted but is also sort of anticlimactic. I mean, we saw Frieda for like 2 seconds and there isn't a lot of drama around the idea that Margarita is using her one request not for herself.

Not that it matters cos then Woland brings back the Master anyway and disappears the guy that had moved into their basement apartment so they can live there. He then starts granting a bunch of wishes like giving the Master back his burned manuscript, letting Natasha stay a witch (good choice, Tash), giving the pig-man (who is back to a regular man) a certificate saying where he was last night ( that a thing?), and turns the vampire guy back into people. Woland even gives Margarita a gold and diamond horseshoe and then sends she and the Master back to their apartment, instead of Margarita deciding to stay with Natasha.

Margarita briefly loses the horseshoe, which is found by the lady that spilled the sunflower oil that caused Mikhail's death, but Azazello gets it back and again, it doesn't seem like much happens in this scene and I don't know why we needed it. But I'm sure it's a biting satire about...something important.
The Margarita starts reading the now-unburned manuscript which means we get some more chapters from it and uuugh. Well, we learn that Pilate's dog is named Banga, so that's fun. Otherwise Pilate orders that Judah should be protected but actually means that he should be killed and then he is killed and Jesus is sad.

You guys, I don't even anymore. I have no idea what happened in the ball or why it happened; I don't know why the devil is granting all these requests; I don't understand the shooting contest or the bit with the gold horseshoe. I have no idea anymore and this section, which lacked a flying Margarita was far less interesting than last week's read. And I have no idea what's going to happen in the end. Maybe Margarita will finish reading Master's book and decide the critics were right? Maybe she'll get sent back to the devil cos of the witch-being and blood-drinking? What about the people back in the hospital?

One section left and perhaps all of our questions will be answered!

Title quote from page 276

Bulgakov, Mikhail. trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The Master and Margarita. Penguin Classics, 1997. Originally published 1966.