Analysis Of Aleksander Solzhenitsyn 's ' Matryona 's Home ' Essay

Analysis Of Aleksander Solzhenitsyn 's ' Matryona 's Home ' Essay

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Being one of the greatest Russian writers of 20th century, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn had a unique talent that he used to truthfully depict the realities of life of ordinary people living in Soviet era. Unlike many other writers, instead of writing about “bright future of communism”, he chose to write about everyday hardships that common people had to endure in Soviet realm. In “Matryona’s Home”, the story focuses on life of an old peasant woman living in an impoverished collectivized village after World War 2 . In the light of Soviet’s propaganda of creating a new Soviet Nation, the reader can observe that Matryona’s personality and way of life drastically contradicted the desired archetype of New Soviet Man. Like most of the people in her village, she was very superstitious, following traditions and beliefs passed down from her ancestors from the times of tsar Russia that were considered outdated or even traitorous in the eyes of Soviets. But in author’s eyes, she embodied beauty and purity of a soul of hardworking peasant that was a pillar of Russian culture for centuries. Despite the lack of direct political criticism, Solzhenitsyn implies that Soviets’ attempts to change the peasant’s way of life would cause a slow destruction of Russian village.
The first thing I noticed while reading the story, is a very detailed illustration of Matryona’s poverty. She lived in a very old rotten house full of cockroaches and mice, and could only afford eating potatoes or barley for every meal. She worked her whole life for collectivized farm, but the government did not provide any pension for her once she got sick and unable to work. Life of other people in the village was not much better, since they were not able to have an adequ...


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...them continued to follow old beliefs.
Through Matryona’s life story, Solzhenitsyn emphasizes how far achievements of civilization remained from lives of peasants in Russian villages in Stalinism era. Any signs of innovation and improvements were saved for cities, while conditions in the villages drastically worsened. Villagers like Matryona would listen about new inventions and Earth satellites through radio as if they were some useless magic wonders, and then they would go on loading peat with forks and eat plain potatoes and barley kasha. Soviet ideology infiltrated Matryona’s life through a wall poster and a radio, but it was unable to change her peasant soul into sophisticated and progressive New Soviet Man. Villagers’ life was a struggle of surviving the winter and finding food to eat, leaving no place for abstract concerns about ideological values.

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