Old woman Shapoklyak: the tragedy of a real person hidden behind a grotesque image

Each of us is well acquainted with the old woman Shapoklyak from childhood - a nasty woman of advanced age with a large rat Lariska on a leash. The whole essence of this character lies in one phrase from her song - “You can’t become famous for good deeds.” We know that this lady uses a slingshot and is very attached to her pet, which she sometimes carries in her reticule.

It turns out that the image of Shapoklyak is a collective one and she has several prototypes, each of which was inextricably linked with its creator, Eduard Uspensky.

Cartoon one - “Crocodile Gena”

# 1. I screwed up again. Wow, what a Cheburashka.

“He screwed up again.” Wow, what a Cheburashka. What should I do with you? -Don't know.

#2. No, this one won't work. An animal unknown to science.

/* Don’t know what to do with the animal? Give it to the zoo.

“No, this one won’t work.” An animal unknown to science. Don't know where to put it.

#3. You will work for us. Stand in the window and, so to speak, attract the attention of passers-by

/* Didn't take you to the zoo? Then to the store

-I like this beast. He, you know, looks like a defective toy, so to speak. -You will work for us. Stand in the window and, so to speak, attract the attention of passers-by. It's clear? -Yes it is clear. Where will I live? -Live? Where will you live? Yes, at least here. This will be your home, so to speak. It's clear? -Yes.

# 4. African crocodile Gena - touching and petting is not allowed

“There lived a crocodile named Gena in the city. -And he worked at the zoo.

#5. Young Cracodile wants to make friends.

―Announcement: ―Young Cracodile wants to make friends.

#6. Are you a bear cub by any chance?

-Who are you? “I don’t know... “Are you by any chance a bear cub?” -May be. I do not know.

# 7. Tea, suitcase, pasties, what!.. Cheboksary. Strange, there are no Cheburashkas

“Now, now we’ll see.” So, so, Ch... ―Tea, suitcase, pasties, what!.. Cheboksary. Strange, there are no Cheburashkas. “So you won’t be friends with me?” -Why? We will, we will! I'll teach you how to knit. “And I’m blowing soap bubbles!”

#8. Those who help people are just wasting their time. You can't become famous by good deeds, ha ha.

“Whoever helps people is just wasting their time.” You can't become famous by good deeds, ha ha. Therefore, I advise everyone to do everything exactly as the old woman named Shapoklyak does. How an old woman named Shapoklyak does it.

# 9. Lariska, come to me!

/* Cheburashka was not afraid of the rat

“Aren’t you afraid of rats?” -No. -Darkness!

- Lariska, come to me!

#10. It's good, it's good that you're green and flat

“It’s good, it’s good that you’re green and flat.” -But why?

-Very simple. You are lying on the lawn and you cannot be seen. We throw the wallet on a string... “The passer-by bends down - and the wallet runs away. Great? Great, huh? - No, not great. - And even very stupid. -What? Then I declare war on you. Hello!

# 11. We built and built, and finally built it. Hooray!

“And now Cheburashka will give you a speech. “We built and built, and finally we built it. Hooray!

#12. Let's give this house to a kindergarten. And I will work there as a Toy...

- Let's give this house to a kindergarten. And I will work there as a Toy. If they take me. I don't know who I am.

“How is it that you don’t know who? It's very well known! “We’ll ask for you!” -And we. And we will ask too!

The secret of the most famous old woman in the USSR

But it is worth noting that the very image of the nasty old woman is not so simple and it contains not only a secret, but also a human tragedy. Considering the years of creation of this character, in the 1930s Shapoklyak should have been about 30 years old and she was a young and blossoming woman, accustomed to taking care of herself and, without a doubt, educated.

The fashionista probably dreamed of leaving the Soviet Union and settling somewhere in Paris, where she would have a chance to become famous. But the Second World War began and the dreams were not destined to come true.

If you look closely at the old woman, there are some positive traits in her. She is often merciful and very active. In the plot, where the workers played dominoes, instead of repairing the school, it was Shapoklyak who got things moving and made everyone move.

Quite serious historical articles are devoted to this character, such as “The Old Woman Shapoklyak as a Gone Symbol of the Russian-Imperial Intelligentsia” by Dmitry Doronin. The author recalls how he first encountered ladies similar to Ouspensky’s fictional heroine.

In his youth, my father was very fond of racing and regularly went to the Moscow Hippodrome. The main audience at the hippodrome was, of course, the Moscow proletariat. And against the background of this proletariat, elderly, dignified women in unusual dresses with lace, who silently, without shouting or gesticulating, watched the duel of riders through lorgnettes and pince-nez, stood out very much. What did these “old women Shapoklyak” go through in their lives? Where did they get lorgnettes in the 70s in the Soviet Union? What happened to their fathers and husbands during the years of revolution, repression and war? It turns out that thanks to the stupid Soviet cartoon, the type of educated Russian women who received a pre-revolutionary upbringing and survived the hell of the 20th century remained in people’s memory, albeit in the form of a caricature.

That's all you need to know about the mischievous old woman from the children's fairy tale. We are sure that now you will look at her antics differently and show condescension towards her shortcomings, making allowances for the difficult fate of a woman. It should also be mentioned that this character turned out to be so bright that for many decades he has inspired artists, photographers and even cosplayers.

Cartoon two - “Cheburashka”

#13. Unfortunately, birthdays only come once a year...

“Let the pedestrians run clumsily through the puddles, “And the water flows like a river on the asphalt.” “And it’s unclear to passers-by on this bad day, “Why am I so cheerful?”

―I play the harmonica in full view of passersby ―Unfortunately, birthdays only come once a year.

# 14. Cheburashka, you are a true friend!

/* There is a toy helicopter as a gift. Although not blue ;)

-Congratulations on your birthday. -Thank you! That's for me? -Yes. “Cheburashka, you are a true friend!”

#15. Walk... You have to do a lot of good things to become a pioneer.

-Pioneers... -Pioneers... -The real ones... -Ah. I would like to walk like this too. “Walk... You have to do a lot of good things to become a pioneer.” It's clear? -It's clear.

#16. We don't want to go to the living corner! We want to be pioneers.

- Pioneers again. Gen, and Gen, let's ask them to come, shall we? “No, Cheburashka, they won’t take us.” -Why? They'll take it. Let's go, shall we? -Let's try.

- Hello. -Hello! -Take us to your place. -You? To the squad? No you can not. “We would take you to a living corner.”

“We don’t want to go to the living corner!” We want to be pioneers. “Do you know how to make birdhouses?” - We don’t know how. -Have you ever lit a fire? “We didn’t divorce...

# 17. - But we will become the best! - When you become, then come.

“Well, do you know how to march?” - We don’t know how. “Uh... “Ha-ha-ha!” - You see. It's still early for you. And in general, the best are accepted as pioneers. “But we will become the best!” “When you become, then come.”

#18. Don't worry, Gen. Let's rest and do it again...

-So. Nothing works. “Don’t worry, Gen.” Let's rest and do it again...

#19. No, we won't do anything here.

/* Booth with a “Danger!” sign on the door

“We will remove all this.” Let's put a bench here. And here we'll make a window. “And it will turn out to be a house where they will play.” -Hooray! -...Explosion!... -No, we won’t do anything here.

# 20. How we baked a loaf of bread on Cheburashka’s name day...

“How we baked a loaf of bread on Cheburashka’s name day.” “This is such a height, this is such a low.” - This is the width...

# 21. - So you stole the compressor? - Yes, I stole it.

―Citizen Crocodile? -What? “So you stole the compressor?” - Yes, I stole it.

-How were you going to use it? “And we... we’ve already used it.” “We built a playground for the kids. -A…

“Well done!” Don't worry about the compressor. We will deliver it ourselves.

#22. All unnecessary things are scrapped! Let's collect scrap metal!

“Everything unnecessary is scrapped!” Let's collect scrap metal! “Cheburashka, I know a place!” There's so much scrap metal...

- Stop! We accept you into the squad! -Us? To the squad? “But we didn’t make birdhouses.” And we don’t know how to march. -It is not important. But you did so much good. “And we’ll teach you how to march.”

Writer's wife

It is known that the first prototype of the old woman Shapoklyak was the writer’s first wife, Rimma Uspenskaya. The author of Cheburashka lived with this woman for 18 years, after which they broke up. The woman died of cancer in 2014 at the age of 77. Her daughter Tatyana said that before her death she was bedridden for several months, and when she died, her father paid for the funeral, but did not attend it himself.

Hannu Mäkelä, biographer of Eduard Uspensky, once wrote that the image of Shapoklyak was copied from the writer’s mother, Natalya Alekseevna. A mechanical engineer by profession and the wife of a party worker by marital status, she dressed elegantly and at the same time had a difficult character.

But the writer himself did not agree with this statement, reporting his point of view in one of the interviews:

No... rather, my wife. In general, it is believed that a man chooses a wife based on the model of his mother. My mother was a rather nasty aunt. I chose this type of wife for myself, whom I also did not love. And since my first wife, I may have been writing. She is so strict, nasty, harmful.

Yes, Uspensky spoke extremely negatively about his first wife Rimma all his life. They met while studying at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) and got married during their student years. The couple had a daughter, Tatyana, who, until his death, never forgave Eduard Nikolaevich for his treatment of loved ones and leaving the family.

Eduard Uspensky with his mother

“The lady is harmful in all respects” - this is how Uspensky briefly described the woman with whom he lived for 18 years. At the same time, the writer liked to mention that he himself was also far from being a gift.

Now I’m just wondering how we managed to live together for eighteen years! Although, to be completely honest, Shapoklyak also has my features. My character is also not angelic.

Tatyana Uspenskaya once told in an interview the love story of her parents. According to the woman, Uspensky courted her mother for a long time and beautifully. Rimma did not want to get married, but Eduard Nikolaevich showed persistence and achieved his goal.

The writer's daughter does not hide the fact that this marriage was unsuccessful. Tatyana remembered the family life of her parents as a series of almost continuous scandals. Because of this, a woman cannot stand screaming and swearing since childhood. According to her, her father constantly drank and had affairs on the side, which, of course, his wife did not like. Tatyana Uspenskaya also recalled her father’s tendency to always and for any reason pretend to be a victim, which was also very annoying.

Eduard Uspensky with his daughter Tatyana

In his will, Eduard Uspensky did not mention his own daughter, leaving everything he owned to his adopted daughters Irina and Svetlana, the children of his second wife.

Cartoon three: Shapoklyak

#23. Here I am. Gen, here he is.

- Cheburashka! Cheburashka, where are you? -Here I am. Gen, here he is.

# 24. Gena, there are no tickets. Maybe you swallowed it?

- Citizens, show your tickets. “Gena, there are no tickets.” Maybe you swallowed it? -Hardly.

# 25. Bream are caught in the Moscow region

“And in the Moscow region, bream is caught, mushrooms, berries, and flowers are found. Don’t even look for a better place, You’ll just waste your time.

#26. A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You will know how to ride without me.

“A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” You will know how to ride without me. - Stop! Stop! “Wait, wait, the pocket is empty.” A-ha-ha-ha-ha!

#27. I know, Gena. This is cool!

“You know, Cheburashka, in the fall there are never puddles or dirt on the sleepers. “I know, Gena. This is cool! -This is very good.

#28. Listen, Gena. Let me carry the things. And you take me.

“Gena!” -A? -Is it very difficult for you to carry things? - Well, how can I tell you, Cheburashka. Very hard. -Listen, Gena. Let me carry the things. And you take me. - You came up with a great idea.

#29. Eh, trezinushka, let's whoop. Eh, the green one will go on its own.

/* Shapoklyak on a trolley...

“Oh, trezinushka, let’s whoop.” Eh, the green one will go on its own.

# 30. And the most important thing, Cheburashka, is that if you walk along the sleepers, you will never get lost.

/* At least until you reach a fork

―32. “And the most important thing, Cheburashka, is that if you walk along the sleepers, you will never get lost. It's clear? -It's clear.

# 30. I will show them how to offend Cheburashkas!

-Gene. Look what I found. “It’s probably the tourists who lost it.” We need to give it back to them!

-Guard! It's your job? “O-o-o-o...” Gena hums... “No, we got caught ourselves.” -Who installed them then?

- Tourists! “I’ll show them how to offend Cheburashkas!” Poachers are unfortunate! I'll find you!

#31. Granulated sugar. Now, now I will arrange a sweet life for you.

/* Shapoklyak on the warpath. She released ants onto the tent!

―35. -Granulated sugar. Now, now I will arrange a sweet life for you.

# 32. You are a head, Petya. If it rings, grab it.

- Fuck them, these traps. Let's catch fish. Give me dynamite.

“What are we going to eat, brothers?” “What’s the network for?” “You’re a head, Petya.” “When it rings, grab it.”

# 33. - What? Are we polluting? - You are very polluting.

―37. At the director's - Come in. -Hello. We're talking about river pollution. -And what? Are we polluting? -You are very polluting. -All. That's it, let's stop immediately.

“Bury the pipe, do you understand me?” “So, will you remove the pipe?” - Definitely.

#34. Don’t you need a Crocodile?

“Brothers, it’s ringing, something’s caught!” -Probably sturgeon! “Don’t you need a Crocodile?”

-Guard! Save yourself who can! “Lariska, follow!” Grab them! Hold it!

# 35. This way, this way, awry, the old woman Shapoklyak is riding on a handcar!

# 36. Hello, Cheburashechka.

- Hello, Cheburashechka. -Hello. “Hey, see, birdie?

“That’s it, the bird flew away (along with the cake)

#37. No, no, no. You will travel in a compartment with Cheburashka. Cheburashka is small, but you are still a lady.

-Do you have tickets? -Haha. Conventions. I'll get there on the roof too. -No no no. You will travel in a compartment with Cheburashka. Cheburashka is small, but you are still a lady. “Lady... Thank you, Gena.” Ooh, crocodile!

#38. Gena, I’ll go with you!

“Gena, I’ll go with you!” -Thank you, Cheburashka. “Well done, old man!” Didn't leave a friend.

#39. Come on, move over. Crocodile, play!

# 40. Everyone believes in the best, The blue carriage rolls and rolls...

“Slowly the minutes float into the distance, “You don’t expect to meet them anymore.” “And although we feel a little sorry for the past, “The best is certainly yet to come.”

“The long journey spreads like a good riddance,” And it rests straight on the sky, “Everyone believes in the best,” “The blue carriage rolls and rolls...

Artist's mother-in-law

When they talk about Shapoklyak, we immediately see an image from a cartoon. The doll in stylish and unusual clothes reflected the era of the 30s of the last century. Maryana Skuratovskaya, a well-known fashion historian in Russia, once said that Shapoklyak’s costume would have been approved by Chanel herself.

Leonid Shvartsman - the second “father” of Shapoklyak

The stylish old lady was created by the artist Leonid Shvartsman, who never hid the source of his inspiration.

One specific image helped me create the old woman Shapoklyak. Firstly, the very word “shapoklyak” gave a clue: it’s a folding top hat, 19th century, frill, white cuffs... And my mother-in-law’s appearance played an important role here. She was a woman from that time, she had gray hair, a gray bun. I just lengthened her nose, made it malicious, and made her eyes sly. In general, this character was born quite quickly.

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