Baba Yaga, also known as Baba Roga and by various other names, is a fictional character who is common in Russian and Slavic folklore. She is usually an old witch or a hag with wild hair who flies around on a giant pestle, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a hut that stands on chicken legs. Her hut is often located deep in the woods or in remote places, with the decor mostly made of skulls, skeletons and strange lights. In most Slavic folk tales, she is portrayed as an antagonist who strikes fear into the hearts of people. However, in other stories people have been known to seek her out for her wisdom and as a guide to lost souls. Baba Yaga is a gray character who is mostly depicted as intelligent, wise and finicky about punctuality and detail, but often cruel to other living beings.
In Slavic folktales, owing to various twists of circumstances, young girls often find themselves at the mercy of Baba Yaga. She then sets impossible tasks for them to do, with the warning that if they are unable to complete the tasks in time, she would eat them. However, with the help of magical tools, the folktale heroines usually manage to do these tasks perfectly and well within time, impressing Baba Yaga, who then lets them go. Occasionally though, there is an unsuccessful chase by Baba Yaga when the girls find themselves unable to finish the tasks set for them and try to escape instead.
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Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.
For all its shortcomings, literary criticism still provides the poet with the tools for self-evaluation and self-improvement. It introduces work of periods and cultures different in theme and treatment.
Literary criticism comes in various shapes and aims. At best it poses searching questions of the writer, and insists that he understands how the arts, the sciences and philosophy have different but coexisting concepts of truth and meaning. Art in the end cannot be divorced from contemporary life, and that consideration leads on to literary theory.