Re: Chapter 30: Time To Go
This is a bit of a convention in the older stories of magical realism, to have someone wake up from a dream or otherwise suggest that the whole thing was imagined. The movie "The Wizard of Oz" plays that card well (even though the book does no such thing - it was much less literary).
I suspect Bulgakov is throwing it down like a gauntlet of challenge. Combined with Ivan's struggle to believe his own eyes, at the beginning of the book, it seems to me this is a way of questioning the reader as to whether they can take the themes seriously, though not literally. It is already obvious we are not expected to believe that Satan appears as a black magic illusionist, holds a ghoulish ball for those who have died in deep sin, and travels about with a droll, self-important human-sized cat. But to have some sense of what drastic damage he can do, manipulating human weakness, and what possibilities may exist for treating with these powers and principalities to save some semblance of beauty and meaning in life, that requires more insight.
There are modern advocates for the use of magical power. It was explained to me once, on the internet, that the procedure begins with determination for some goal, but requires that you envision some way it might actually come about. This is a dark variation on Brueggeman's "The Prophetic Imagination" in which one must imagine the world working more along the lines of shalom, because when the Putins and Mugabes of the world have persuaded you that the world can't possibly work any other way, they have won.
It's also much more human and hopeful than the dreary plodding urged by the crowd who chant "Namyo Ho Rengye Ko" for a Mercedes, or a promotion, or some such dull, sterile "achievement" in life. The "magic" they are urging is the magic of the karate master who can put his hand through a brick because he envisions it (and has spent years breaking thicker and thicker boards so that he builds up calcium deposits which strengthen the bones in his hand.)
Hopefully anyone who has any chance of being offered three sherries one after another will already know this is irony.