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"A Naked Person” and “the Unbearable World”: Exodus Variants (Based on Early Works by A. I. Solzhenitsyn)

Natalia Kovtun ; (Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University named after V.P. Astafyev)
Natalya Klimovich orcid id ; Siberian Federal University

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 213 Kb

str. 181-205

preuzimanja: 67



This paper analyses the motif of “the naked person” in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s early work. Epic tales which belong to the so called “labour camp prose”, such as One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1959) and The Cancer Ward (1968), stand out in the context of this motif. Moreover, the “unbearable world” and the “naked person” have been structurally significant for the “labour camp prose” since Fyodor Dostoevsky and Anton Chekhov. All of them imply that these elements
bring the reader closer to understanding the ontology of a person who is forbidden to wear a cross on his chest and thus seek protection from God and cultural myths. The paper examines historical developments of the “naked person” imagery in Russian literature from the seventeenth century to the Avantgarde and postmodernism by analysing relations between reality and the “unbearable world” (the space of labour camps) in which nakedness and misery are deemed to be charisma, gifts from God. The Cancer Ward is still one of Solzhenitsyn’s most widely read works in Europe and
America. Unlike the peasants in the story, Kostoglotov, an intellectual, reflects on the value of freedom, prospects of choice and the nature of evil – something which Ivan Denisovich touches upon only vaguely. The author is interested in mechanisms of self-identity in horrendous living
conditions. Solzhenitsyn’s The Cancer Ward is a variation of the classic “non-finito” narrative. The protagonist, who has endured hardship and overcome limits of the “unbearable world”, moves towards the house-ark as his life is just beginning. In fact, by employing terrible history, a labour camp and the hospital ward of the doomed, Solzhenitsyn’s text explores the driving forces behind a person’s self-identity, the most important of which are moral elevation, will, mercy and belief in life.

Ključne riječi

A. Solzhenitsyn, “naked person”, “labour camp prose”, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Cancer Ward

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