Heart of a Dog

Heart of a Dog Metaphors and Similes

The Vicious Doorman (Metaphor)

When Professor Preobrazhensky first enters his building with Sharik, Sharik is initially scared of Fyodor, the doorman. In fact, Sharik has such antipathy towards doormen that he refers to them as "murderers in golden braid" (9). Homeless animals have antipathy towards the employees in charge of hotel, apartment, or building entrances because such individuals do everything that they can, often using violence, to keep the animals out. Thus, to Sharik, Fyodor is just another part of this violent group, a murderer adorned with gold braids (i.e., the typical uniform of a doorman).

Infantile Tastes (Simile)

When Zina hears that Philip Philippovich has been feeding Sharik Krakow sausage, she is flabbergasted by the sausage's price. Further, she says that she herself should eat the sausage, while Sharik should be eating something more like butcher's scraps. In response, Professor Preobrazhensky then chastises Zina: "A grown-up girl, and she's ready to stuff herself with every kind of garbage, like a baby" (16). He claims that the sausage is of inferior quality and would give human beings a stomachache. In comparing Zina to a baby, then, for wanting to eat the sausage, Professor Preobrazhensky is making a comparison between those who would eat such trash (i.e., the masses, who have few other options) to an ignorant or less-developed person, represented by a baby.

The Wonderful Smell of Food (Metaphor)

During the meal of Professor Preobrazhensky and Dr. Bormenthal, Zina brings in a sizzling dish. The scent of this dish then brings Sharik to make an interesting comparison: "The dish gave off such a smell that the dog's mouth immediately filled with saliva. The gardens of Semiramide! he thought" (31). The gardens of Semiramide are a reference to the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the Ancient World. Thus, by invoking it here, Bulgakov implies that the scent is almost miraculous for Sharik, a welcome reprieve from the harsh dog's life he only recently was saved from.

Crime as a Stone (Simile)

When Professor Preobrazhensky is told by his informant of Polygraph Polygraphovich's accusations against him, he experiences a deep anger mixed with desperation. In the wake of these emotions' onset, the narrator tells us that, "the crime [of Polygraph's tattling] had ripened, and it fell like a stone, as, indeed, it usually does" (116). This simile conveys not only the deadly karmic retribution (like a falling stone) that this crime will bring for Polygraph—after all, he will be turned into a dog once again because of it—but also the inevitability of the crime's payback, sure and strong as gravity itself.

Gelatin Silence (Simile)

When the officers and Shvonder appear in the novel's epilogue to follow up with Professor Preobrazhensky about the disappearance of Polygraph Polygraphovich, they are stunned to see Professor Preobrazhensky produce Sharik, now fully a dog again. In describing the stunned silence that follows Sharik's presentation to the officers, Bulgakov writes that "dead silence congealed in the waiting room like jello" (121). This similar reveals both how quickly silence sets in upon this strange revelation, as well as how trapped the inquiring officers are after they see Sharik. They have no place to go and no further action to take, and they are stuck in their dumbstruck silence as if contained within gelatin.