Alexander Solzhenitsyn — страница 4
One, Cancer Ward, The GULAG Archipelago and The Red Wheel are a hard nut to crack and on the whole have not become national bestsellers. Certainly, many readers were discouraged by the size of these books; The Red Wheel alone consists of 10 volumes. Besides, after all the revelations of the perestroika period, after scandals and masses of compromising material daily supplied by the media, many people simply don't have the energy to go deep into the events of the past, which were even more frightening that those of the present. The writer himself has an approximately similar opinion on the issue. As for the Russian literature of the Soviet period on the whole, he believes that "After 1917 life and people changed greatly. But literature produced a very poor reflection of these changes. The truth was suppressed and lies encouraged. Thus we arrived in the 1990s, knowing next to nothing about this country. This explains the great number of surprises." There is still another reason why many people remain strangers to Solzhenitsyn's work. His major books are not entertaining reading. In fact, they are political and philosophical essays. The writer believes his mission is to keep things under constant scrutiny. 3. The Cancer Ward. I would life to tell you about one of my favorite novels by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It is The Cancer Ward. The story takes place in the men's cancer ward of a hospital in a city in Soviet Central Asia. The patients in Ward 13 all suffer from cancer, but differ in age, personality, nationality, and social class (as if such a thing could be possible in the Soviet "classless" society!). We are first introduced to Pavel Rusanov, a Communist Party functionary, who enters the hospital because of a rapidly growing neck tumor. We soon learn, however, that the book's central character is Oleg Kostoglotov, a young man who has recently been discharged from a penal camp and is now "eternally" exiled to this particular province. Only two weeks earlier, he was admitted to the ward in grave condition from an unspecified tumor, but he has responded rapidly to radiation therapy. Among the doctors are Zoya, a medical student; Vera Gangart, a young radiologist; and Lyudmila Dontsova, the chief of radiation therapy. Rusanov and Kostoglotov respond to therapy and are eventually discharged; other patients remain in the ward, get worse, or are sent home to die. In the end Kostoglotov boards a train to the site of his "eternal" exile: "The long awaited happy life had come, it had come! But Oleg somehow did not recognize it." Solzhenitzyn himself was released from a labor camp in early 1953, just before Stalin's death, and was exiled to a village in Kazakhstan. While incarcerated, he had been operated on for a tumor, but was not told the diagnosis. He subsequently developed a recurrence, received radiotherapy in Tashkent, and recovered. In The Cancer Ward Solzhenitzyn transforms these experiences into a multifaceted tale about Soviet society during the period of hope and liberalization after Stalin's death. Cancer, of course, is an obvious metaphor for the totalitarian state. The novel also provides an interesting look at mid-century Soviet medicine and medical ethics. The novel also explores the personal qualities and motivation of physicians, and the issue of intimate relationships between doctors and patients. Probably the book's strongest points are its insight into human nature and the believability of its characters. Conclusion. Solzhenitsyn is disappointed with Russian literature: "On the one hand, our Russian literature is very high because it has not lost its ethic standard. On the other hand, partly under the influence of Gogol, with his merciless attitude toward public vices, Russian literature lost its creative message. We have Oblomov, Onegin, Pechorin, all the so-called "useless people", but where are the builders, the creators? Russia was created as a mighty power stretching east to Siberia, where back in the 18th century we had educational institutions, talented people and culture. Then under Gogol's influence there appeared a succession of satirists and ironists. Saltytkov-Shchedrin, for example, with his scathing look at the negative is simply mustard." Today Solzhenitsyn continues working, preparing his diaries for publication, writing letters to the former fellow-inmates and helping thousands of people. The Solzhenitsyn foundation is based on the royalties of The GULAG Archipelago, published in 30 countries. It supports thousands of former political prisoners across Russia. "Giving is far more important than taking," says the writer's wife, Natalia.