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Breaking Stalin's Nose is a young adult novel that is considered historical fiction. The setting is Moscow during the Stalin era. Sasha Zaichik is the main character, a young boy who is very involved with the Young Pioneers.
The group called the Young Pioneers is always devoted to Stalin as comrade, the Communist Party, and Communism as a whole. Each Young Pioneer was always considered a comrade in his own right because he would act out of allegiance to conscience. As such, each Young Pioneer was always allowed to criticize the shortcomings of others.
Sasha is ten years old and ready to become a member of the Young Pioneers, a youth group he has been familiar with and waiting to join since he was six years old. However, a chain of events occur which cause Sasha to change his mind about the desire to join the Young Pioneers. He damages a bust of Stalin in the school hallway.
The most important event in the story changes Sasha's mind about the Young Pioneers and what they stand for: Sasha's father is arrested. Sasha has always considered his father to be a dedicated communist. He is uncomfortable with the expectation that he should be willing to inform on his friends and family members.
In conclusion, we must realize that the title is not only a reference to Sasha breaking the bust of Stalin, but also a reference to Sasha's final revelation. It is a terrifying realization to Sasha that the government and leader (Stalin), in whom he has always had complete trust, could easily turn on him. As a result, Sasha can no long be a committed communist.
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