gorky - CHAPTER I V GORKY THE M AN AND THE WRITER"The...

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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER I V GORKY THE M AN AND THE WRITER "The most s t r i k i n g t h i n g about Corky's l i f e i s t h a t i t c a n be v i s u a l i s e d a s a s o a r i n g v e r t i c a l l i n e ; i t r i s e s from t h e lower d e p t h s , almost from t h e v e r y bottom of t h e Russian s o c i a l world, a s i t was b e f o r e t h e r e v o l u t i o n , and s o a r s t o h e i g h t s reached o n l y by f e w men i n h i s t o r y , " ' s a y s A n a t o l i Lunacharsky. C orky's w orks a r e v e r y c l o s e l y connected w i t h h i s l i f e . Though he h a s a l l i e d h i s works w i t h t he p e o p l e s ' l i b e r a t i o n movement, he was always c a u t i o u s t o keep h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y . A s a writer h e d i s c o v e r e d new ways t o s t u d y r e a l i t y through a r t a nd l a i d t h e f o u n d a t i o n s f o r a new s t a g e i n t h e h i s t o r y of world literature. Corky e n r i c h e d world l i t e r a t u r e w i t h new themes, i d e a s , p l o t s and l i t e r a r y images. Alexei Maximovich P eshkov, who s i g n i f i c a n t l y adopted Maxim C orky a s h i s pen name, w a s b orn i n 1868 i n N ishni Novgorod. H i s f a t h e r w a s a j o i n e r and t h e f a m i l y l i v e d i n poverty. h e w a s t h r e e y e a r s o l d , he f e l l ill w i t h c h o l e r a . When The f a t h e r n u r s e d t h e son and saved him, b u t he h i m s e l f d i e d i n t h e process. I t i s s a i d t h a t Alexei chose t h e pen name Corky i n memory of h i s f a t h e r , who was c a l l e d s o by o t h e r s . H i s m other d i d n o t l o v e him, c o n s i d e r i n g him a s t h e r e a s o n f o r t h e d e a t h of h e r husband. She l e f t t h e s o n w i t h h i s grandmother, g o t m a r r i e d 89 a gain, but died i n h e r youth. A f t e r f i v e months of primary schooling, t h e orphan, a t t h e age of e i g h t , was compelled t o e a r n h i s own bread. There began f o r him a long s t r e t c h of p h y s i c a l and moral bondage, ordeals and humiliations. He was by t u r n an errand-boy i n shops, a cook's boy, baker, dock l a b o u r e r , general l a b o u r e r and watch-man and did s e v e r a l o t h e r odd jobs. V. M. M olotov during h i s f u n e r a l speech over Corky's c o f f i n i n 1936 s a i d t h a t no w r i t e r i n Russia o r any o t h e r country had experienced himself s o much of t h e c r u e l t i e s and i n j u s t i c e s of contemporary s o c i e t y a s had Gorky. Reading was Corky's s o l e refuge from hardships. The c h i e f cook of a Volga Steamer i n s t i l l e d i n him a passion f o r reading, and t h e boy read anything and everything. wrote i n ily U n i v e r s i t i e s : "Life i t s e l f presented t o m a s an e endless succession of enmities and c r u e l t i e s d e s i r e d only books. I n h i s youth ( 1.e. Gorky . . . Myself, A l l o t h e r t h i n g s t o me were valueless. I 11 2 t h e l a t e e i g h t i e s and e a r l y n i n e t i e s of t h e l a s t century) before he became a w r i t e r , he tramped from one end of Russia t o t h e o t h e r i n o r d e r t o s e e how t h e people l i v e d , and t o understand t h e i r s p i r i t . The r e s u l t was a p a s s i o n a t e d e s i r e f o r t h e freedom of h i s people. on what caused him t o w rite: Here a r e C orky's words "To t h e question why I began t o e w r i t e I s h a l l reply: because of t h e p r e s s u r e exerted on m by an "oppressively drab l i f e " and a l s o because I was s o f u l l of h p r e s a i o n s t h a t I c ould not help w r i t i n g . The former reason y made m t r y t o introduce i n t o m drab l i f e such imaginings e 90 a s 'The Song of t h e F alcon,' ' The Legend o f t h e Burning H e a r t , ' and 'The Stormy P e t r e l , ' w h i l e t h e l a t t e r l e d m t o w r i t i n g e s t o r i e s o f a ' r e a l i s t i c ' c h a r a c t e r , such a s ' Twentysix Men and a G i r l , x, ' 'The Orlovs ' and 'The Rowdy. "' fc o l l e c t e d =(E), 37-7 G orky's w andering throughout h i s c o u n t r y , h i s t i r e l e s s s e a r c h f o r j u s t i c e , brought him c l o s e r t o t h e main groups of p r o g r e s s i v e r e v o l u t i o n a r y i n t e l l i g e n t s i a and t h e Russian proletariat. He a c q u a i n t e d h i m s e l f w i t h t h e Narodnik group i n K azan, w here he came i n 1 894. t h e i r underground l i t e r a t u r e . He mixed w i t h them and r e a d Although he s h a r e d t h e i r i d e a s , he f e l t h imself a s t r a n g e r among them. w i t h t h e vagueness of t h e i r i d e a l i s m . He was d i s s a t i s f i e d C orky c o n t i n u e d t o read and s t u d y a f t e r p u t t i n g i n a fourteen-hour day i n a b akery. The p h y s i c a l s t r a i n , however, was n o t a s dangerous a s t h e moral a n x i e t y . The d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h himself and w i t h h i s s u r r o u n d i n g s drove him almost i n s a n e and he t r i e d t o commit suicide. Corky w r i t e s : "Yes, comrades, I h ave had ample e x p e r i e n c e o f f e a r o f t h e b o o r i s h n e s s and c r u e l t y o f l i f e , and once even went s o f ar a s t o a t t e m p t s u i c i d e , something t h a t f o r many y e a r s I c o u l d n o t r e c o l l e c t w i t h o u t a f e e l i n g o f b u r n i n g shame and self-contempt.'' f-collected Works (E), X , 46J I n 1 895 Corky p u b l i s h e d h i s s t o r y " Chelkash". T he n e x t y e a r he married Y e k a t e r i n a V olzhina, who had been a proof reader. I n 1898 Corky's s h o r t s t o r i e s were p u b l i s h e d 91 i n two volumes, which were a g r e a t success. t h e c e n t u r y he became t h e hero of t h e day. novel Foma By t h e t u r n of I n 1899 h i s f i r s t C ordeev, and i n t h e beginning of t h e 1 900s t h e p l a y s The P h i l i s t i n e s ( 1901) a nd The Lower D epths ( 1902) w ere published. C orky's p rominence as a spokesman f o r t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y movement p a r a l l e l e d h i s l i t e r a r y fame. I n 1 901, a f t e r t h e b r u t a l p o l i c e measures a g a i n s t u n i v e r s i t y s t u d e n t s , Corky wrote h i s poem "The S tormy P e t r e l . " By t h i s time h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e S o c i a l Democrats was an open s e c r e t . Between 1898 and 1 905 he was imprisoned s e v e r a l times. One of t h e important e v e n t s i n t h e l i f e of Corky was h i s ' a c q u a i n t a n c e w i t h Lenin whom he f i r s t met i n November 1905. Lenin was very much i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e works of Corky and highly valued t h e i r r o l e i n t h e emancipation movement of t h e people of Russia. Reading Corky's Mother ( 1906) L enin commented t h a t i t was a much needed and timely book which would help many , w orkers t a k i n g an unconscious, spontaneous p a r t i n t h e revolut i o n become conscious f i g h t e r s . fc o l l e c t e d Works ( R) X VII ,7-7 B ut a t t h e same time whenever Corky moved away from t h e revolu t i o n a r y p a t h Lenin c r i t i c i s e d him and helped him t o choose t h e c o r r e c t path. For i n s t a n c e , Lenin s h a r p l y c r i t i c i s e d Corky f o r h i s a t t r a c t i o n t o t t b o g o s t r o i t e l s t v o l l (The b e l i e f t h a t r e l i g i o n does n o t c o n t r a d i c t s o c i a l i s m ) which i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s s h o r t novel Confession ( 1 9 0 8 ) . ~ Again d u r i n g t h e prep a r a t i o n f o r October Revolution, Corky underestimated t h e power of t h e P a r t y and t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s of i t s a l l i a n c e w ith 92 easants. These a t t i t u d e s Corky expressed i n some of h i s e s s a y s i k e " Untimely Thought" w r i t t e n i n 1917. r i t i c i s e d by Lenin. Subsequently Corky understood h i s mistake h i c h he has acknowledged repeatedly. V I I , 24-273 Corky was emphatically [collected Works ( R), C orky's g r e a t l o v e and r e s p e c t towards Lenin i s e l l r e f l e c t e d i n h i s sketches 1. I. L enin ( 1924-1930). After he r e v o l u t i o n Corky wrote a number of works about t h e Russian a st. The most important among them a r e The Artamonovs ( 1925) and The L i f e of K l i m Samain on which he worked t ill t h e l a s t aye o f h i s l i f e . From t h e very e a r l y works, Corky has t r i e d t o f i n d o u t an a nsver t o t h e q u e s t i o n on t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between a r t and r e a l i t y and t h e essence of beauty. He has r e f e r r e d t o t h e absence of an a b s o l u t e c r i t e r i o n of beauty and t h e need f o r changes i n t h e p r e s e n t a t t i t u d e of t h e s o c i e t y t o beauty. According t o him a w r i t e r does n o t have t h e r i g h t t o be t h e p r i e s t of pure a r t o r s t a n d o u t s i d e t h e s o c i e t y , he must be i n t h e midst of l i f e and t e a c h people how freedom can be achieved. I n h i s s t o r y "The Reader" ( 1898) Corky d e s c d b e d h i s a r t i s t i c q u e s t s i n t h e e a r l y y e a r s of h i s l i t e r a r y c a r e e r and r e f l e c t s on t h e p a r t played by g e n e r a l i d e a s and p r i n c i p l e s on t h e a r t of w r i t i n g . I n t h e r e a d e r ' s arguments Corky expresses h i s understanding of t h e word " l i t e r a t u r e " and i t s s o c i a l mission a t t h e time. Purely d e s c r i p t i v e f i c t i o n d i s s a t i s f i e d t h e reader: "Consider what harm you may do people by c l u t t e r i n g t h e i r minds 93 w i t h t h e r u b b i s h of photographs of t h e i r u n e v e n t f u l l i v e s . For, you must acknowledge y o u r s e l v e s i n c a p a b l e of p o r t r a y i n g t h i n g s s o t h a t your p i c t u r e o f l i f e would evoke a v e n g e f u l shame and an a r d e n t d e s i r e t o c r e a t e o t h e r forms of e x i s t e n c e . Can you i n s p i r e i t w i t h Can you quicken t h e p u l s e of l i f e ? a s o t h e r s have done?" f - c o l l e c t e d works'(^), p . 342-7 I n g r e a t a r t , romanticism and r e a l i s m a c c o r d i n g t o 1 Gorky, a r e found i n a c e r t a i n u n i t y . Discussing t h e d e f i n i - t i o n s of r omanticism h e w r i t e s : Two s h a r p l y c o n t r a s t m e t e n d e n c i e s should be d i s t i n g u i s h e d i n romanticism, t h e p a s s i v e and t h e a c t i v e . P a s s i v e romanticism endeavours t o r e c o n c i l e man w i t h h i s l i f e by e m b e l l i s h i n g t h a t l i f e , o r t o d i s t r a c t him from t h e t h i n g s around him by means of a b a r r e n i nCrospecLion i n t o h i s i n n e r world, i n t o t h o u g h t s of " l i f e ' s i n s o l u b l e problems," such a s l o v e , d e a t h a nd o t h e r impond e r a b l e s , problems t h a t cannot be s o l v e d by s p e c u l a t i o n o r c o n t e m p l a t i o n , b u t o n l y by s c i e n c e . A c t i v e romanticism s t r i v e s t o s t r e n g t h e n man's w i l l t o l i v e and r a i s e him up a g a i n s t t h e l i f e around him, a g a i n s t any yoke i t would impose. f - c o l l e c t e d Works ( E ) , X , 35-7 To t h e h i s t o r i a n of modern l i t e r a t u r e t h e most i m p o r t a n t a s p e c t of Gorky's l i t e r a r y i d e a s i s , o f c o u r s e , h i s d o c t r i n e of s o c i a l i s t r e a l i s m . Gorky a s t h e founder o f s o c i a l i s t l i t e r a t u r e a ccumulated i n h i s works t h e a s p i r a t i o n s t o u n i t e a r t and s o c i a l i s m . The l i v i n g s o u r c e which f e d h i s s e a r c h t h a t l e d t o h i s a r t i s t i c d i s c o v e r i e s was a c hanged r e a l i t y , when t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y s o c i a l i s t movement had s t a r t e d t a k i n g p r a c t i c a l steps. I n h i s p r e s i d e n t i a l a d d r e s s a t t h e f i r s - t A l l U nion Congress of S o v i e t W r i t e r s , Gorky s a i d : "Socialist realism 94 p roclaims t h a t l i f e i a a c t i o n , c r e a t i v i t y , whose aim i s t h e u n f e t t e r e d development of man's most v a l u a b l e i n d i v i d u a l a b i l i t i e s f o r h i s v i c t o r y o v e r t h e f o r c e of n a t u r e , f o r h i s h e a l t h and l o n g e v i t y , o r t h e g r e a t happiness of l i v i n g on e a r t h which he, i n c onformity w i t h c o n s t a n t growth o f h i s r e q u i r e m e n t s , wished t o c u l t i v a t e a s a m a g n i f i c e n t h a b i t a t i o n of a mankind u n i t e d i n one f amily." X , 343-7 fc o l l e c t e d Works (E), B ut what i s m ost s t r i k i n g i s t h a t Corky's d o c t r i n e of r e a l i s m d o e s n o t draw a v e r y s h a r p l i n e between r e a l i s m and romanticism. I n f a c t , Corky c a l l s h i s s o c i a l i s t r e a l i s m a f orm o f r e v o l u t i o n a r y romanticism. Corky's t h e o r y of a r t and beauty i s w ell r e f l e c t e d i n h i s d e p i c t i o n o f r e a l i t y , c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , humanism, d e p i c t i o n of n a t u r e and a n a l y s i s of Russia's h i s t o r i c a l past. C o n t i n u i n g t h e t r a d i t i o n of n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y r e a l i s t i c l i t e r a t u r e , Corky d e p i c t e d i n h i s works a panorama of Russian l i f e d u r i n g h i s time. A s a man from t h e v e r y bottom o f l i f e , Corky had a n e x c e l l e n t knowledge o f t h e r e a l i t y o f t h e world i n which t h e m a j o r i t y of mankind l i v e d , i n which p e o p l e o f T s a r i s t Russia lived. He p e r s o n a l l y e x p e r i e n c e d i t a nd t h e r e had been thousands of o t h e r s around him i n a s i m i l a r p o s i t i o n . Corky was f i l l e d w i t h g r e a t b i t t e r n e s s a t t h e h u m i l i a t i o n of men and t h i s developed i n t o a dominant f e e l i n g i n him from h i s early years. He r e a l i z e d t h a t r i c h people were dehumanized and t u r n e d i n t o b e a s t s by t h i s atmosphere. A s a truthful o b s e r v e r Corky s c a r c e l y saw a n y t h i n g beyond t h e c o n c r e t e n e s s of l i f e a s it i s a c t u a l l y l i v e d . He c o n c e n t r a t e d p r i m a r i l y on t h o s e o f a p h y s i c a l n a t u r e : hunger, drunkenness, p a i n , f i l t h and l a c k of p h y s i c a l n e c e s s i t i e s . He a l s o g i v e s importance t o v i o l e n c e and murder. I n t h e works o f t h e 1 890s C orky mainly d e p i c t s man's inhumanity t o man, and c o n c e n t r a t e s more and more on t h e d e p i c t i o n o f p o v e r t y , i g n o r a n c e and s u f f e r i n g s of t h e lower classes. I n t h e s t o r y "Once i n Autumn" ( 1895) t h e n a r r a t o r - h e r o who i s w andering day and n i g h t t o f i n d o u t some e d i b l e " A t t h i s s t a g e o f c u l t u r a l development i t i s goods says: e a s i e r t o s a t i s f y s p i r i t u a l t h a n body hunger." && (E), I , [collected 1 7 7 3 T he poor shoemaker C r i g o r y O rlov p ~ h e O r l o v s , " 1 8927, t h i n k i n g a b o u t t h e burden o f h i s work and i ts boredom a t t i m e s would say: w a n t w i t h i t ? Work and mope. "Life, t h e bitch! What d o I Mope and work. By t h e w i l l o f t h e Cod m mother brought m i n t o t h i s world--can't y e anything a g a i n s t t h a t . t h a t for? Then I l e a r n e d m t r a d e , b u t what was y What good d o e s i t d o me? h o l e and peg away. (E), I, 2 7 6 3 say Just sit here i n t h i s And t h e n I w i l l d i e . " [collected I n t h e s t o r y "Twentysix Men and a G i r l " ( 1899) C orky shows t h e t e r r i b l e c o n d i t i o n s o f workers who a r e c r u e l l y e x p l o i t e d by t h e i r m a s t e r and who a r e n o t c o n s c i o u s of t h e i r class interests. Corky a s k s : " Is a man t o b lame i f h e i s h a l f dead, i f h e i s l i k e a s t o n e image, i f a l l h i s s e n s e s a r e blunded by t h e c r u s h i n g b urden of t o i l ? " (El, I , 349-7 [collected Worke 96 G orky's r e a l i s m i n i t s b e s t form i s s e e n i n h i s p l a y -- The Lower Depths ( 1 9 0 2 ) . G orky d e p i c t s t h e down-trodden, r e j e c t e d lower l e v e l s o f society--the people" f~ i v s h i e i u d i 3 l the m i l i e u s of t h e "former a nd tramps a t lower depths--where t h e a b n o r m a l i t y of c a p i t a l i s t l i f e was p a r t i c u l a r l y e v i d e n t . The p l a y i s a imed a g a i n s t t h e c r u e l system o f c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y . I n t h e p l a y Corky shows t h e c r u e l lodge-owner and h i s w i f e V a s i l i s a who i n s t i g a t e s h e r l over P e p e l , a t h i e f , t o k i l l h e r husband. The ex-human's group i n t h e p l a y i s v a r i e d . Baron, d e g e n e r a t e d because of h i s own l a z i n e s s and l a c k o f w i l l p ower, t h e i l l i t e r a t e T a t a r , P e p e l , a n e x p e r t t h i e f , t h e k eysmith K l e s h , t h e p r o s t i t u t e N a s t i a and t h e a l c o h o l - a d d i c t actor--all a r e v i c t i m s o f poverty. Such a m e r c i l e s e a nd naked p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e l i f e o f t h e s o c i a l l y backward p e o p l e , a b o u t t h e i r t r a g i c f a t e , i s v ery r a r e l y s e e n i n world l i t e r a t u r e . Gorky t r i e s t o prove t h a t i n a c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y t h e r e i s n o hope f o r b e t t e r f u t u r e f o r s u c h people. The o n l y p o s s i b i l i t y o f s a v i n g them i s t h e change o f s o c i e t y . The d e p i c t i o n o f t h e poor m a t e r i a l c o n d i t i o n o f workers and t h e i r s u f f e r i n g s o u t o f p o v e r t y i s p o r t r a y e d i n Mother also. The n o v e l b e g i n s w i t h a gloomy p i c t u r e of workers. " Every d ay t h e f a c t o r y w h i s t l e s h r i e k e d t r e m u l o u s l y g rimy, g r e a s y a i r a bove t h e workers' s e t t l e m e n t . i n t he And i n obedience t o i t s summons s u l l e n p e o p l e , roused b e f o r e s l e e p came s c u t t l i n g o u t o f t h e i r l i t t l e g r e y houses l i k e f r i g h t e n e d cockroaches. " 4 H ere Corky l i m i t s t h e d e p i c t i o n t o a s mall 97 i n t r o d u c t o r y c h a p t e r because he h a s t o i n t r o d u c e a new theme i n t h e novel--the b i r t h o f a new s o c i e t y . Most of t h e works which Corky produced a f t e r t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f Mother a l s o u n f o l d t h e panorama o f p o v e r t y , boredom and c r u e l t y . They a r e The s m a l l town of Okurov ( 1910), The o f Matvei Kozhemvakin ( 1911) a nd t h e t h r e e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n o v e l s Childhood ( l 9 l 4 ) , U n i v e r s i t i e s ( 1923). a A ~ p r e n t i c e s h i p( 1916) a nd l 4 ~ The l i f e i n t h e town Okurov i s h o r r i b l e , where d r i n k i n g i s J o y l e s s and b e a t i n g s a r e a m a t t e r o f r o u t i n e . In U n i v e r s i t i e s Corky d e s c r i b e s i n f u l l t h e oppressed lower c l a s s e s , t h e i r s t r u g g l e f o r a c r u s t of b r e a d and t h e i r d e s p e r a t e a t t e m p t s t o m a i n t a i n some l e v e l o f human d i g n i t y . U n l i k e o t h e r Russian and European r e a l i s t i c w r i t e r s , C orky p o r t r a y e d t h e s u f f e r i n g s o f t h e p e o p l e w i t h t h e i r cons c i o u s and i n s t i n c t i v e p r o t e s t a g a i n s t t h e inhuman c o n d i t i o n s i n which t h e y a r e compelled t o e x i s t , and w i t h a dream f o r a better life. The profound d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n experienced by t h e down-trodden and t h e i r q u e s t f o r a meaningful f r e e l i f e a re i l l u s t r a t e d i n "The O rlovs," " Grandfather A rkhip a nd Lenka," "Twentysix men and a g i r l , " e t c . G r a n d f a t h e r A rkhip g a t h e r s money even by way of s t e a l i n g i n o r d e r t o l i b e r a t e a t l e a s t h i s grandson Lenka from begging. a freedom. But Lenka does n o t l i k e s u c h K onovalov, t h e h e r o i n t h e s t o r y w i t h t h e same t i t l e was h i g h l y s e n s i t i v e and even something of a d reamer. But he had been d r a i n e d of a l l h i s s t r e n g t h and had become a drunkard and v agabond. I n "Twentysix men and a g i r l " t h e 98 w orkers l o v e Tanya, t h e s i x t e e n y e a r o l d housemaid w i t h a s e c r e t ambition f o r a b e t t e r l i f e . The a s p i r a t i o n s o f man a r e b e s t p o r t r a y e d i n The Lower Depths. Luka t h e o l d p i l g r i m f o s t e r s t h e i l l u s i o n s o f t h e poor people. The poor workers we meet i n t h e beginning o f Mother a r e not i n d i f f e r e n t t o t h e i r condition. Meeting each o t h e r t h e y b lame t h e i r m a s t e r s and complain about t h e i r t e d i o u s l i f e . They c u r s e t h e i r c h i l d r e n and b e a t them up m e r c i l e s s l y . Some of them, f o r i n s t a n c e , Michael Vlasov, a g i t a t e s about h i s s u f f e r i n g s throughout h i s l i f e . He was a good worker, b u t quar- r e l l e d w i t h s u p e r i o r s and f o r t h a t r e a s o n made l i t t l e money. I n o r d e r t o s i n k h i s d i s p l e a s u r e he drank every h o l i d a y , b e a t somebody, and was f e a r e d and d i s l i k e d by a l l . By d e p i c t i n g t h e p remature d e a t h o f Vlasov, Corky shows t h e t r u t h t h a t s i n c e man cannot l i v e such a l i f e , he p r e f e r s d e a t h . The r e a l i s t i c d e p i c t i o n s o f C orky a r e o f t e n gloomy w i t h t h e i r heroes dead. The h o p e l e s s n e s s o f l i f e o f t e n compels t h e h e r o e s t o end t h e i r lives. Konovalov and G r a n d f a t h e r A rkhip commit s u i c i d e f o r t h e same reason. better') The poor cook Arina ( "For w ant of something who i s j e e r e d a t and p e r s e c u t e d by h e r c o a r s e compa- n i o n s hangs h e r s e l f . The A rtamonovs a l s o ends w i t h t h e d e a t h o f P y o t r A rtamonov. Corky d i d n o t l i m i t h i s d e p i c t i o n of r e a l i t y t o t h e s u f f e r i n g s and a s p i r a t i o n s o f t h e poor and t h e oppressed people. He was a l s o i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e l i f e of t h e c a p i t a l i s t s i n Russia. He explored t h i s theme a t f irst i n &@G ordaev 99 and t h e n i n The Artamonovs, and D ostinaev and others. t h e plays In Foma Bulichev others Gordeev Gorky d e p i c t s a d e t a i l e d r e a l i s t i c p i c t u r e of t h e l i f e of merchants i n Russia a t t h e t u r n of t h e century. Gorky shows how a person from t h e lower s t a t e , without any i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t i s t ransformed from t h e ranks of t h e oppressed i n t o t h o s e of t h e oppressor. I g n a t , Foma's f a t h e r , i s a n i n c a r n a t i o n of t h e d r i v i n g f o r c e of t h e r i s i n g c l a s s , i t s u r g e f o r t h e accumulation and acquis t i o n o f wealth. In The Artamonovs Corky, i n s t e a d of p o r t r a y i n g an i n d i v i d u a l , g i v e s t h e s t o r y of t h r e e g e n e r a t i o n s of Russian capitalists. I t i s t h e s t o r y of a b i g f i r m s pread over t h r e e s u c c e s s i v e generations. S t a i n e d by a crime a t i t s b eginning t h e f a c t o r y founded by t h e e n t e r p r i s i n g ex-serf Artamonov soon expands i n t o a prosperous concern. Here Corky g i v e s a new s o c i a l , economic, h i s t o r i c a l , moral and p h i l o s o p h i c a l e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e d e g r a d a t i o n of c a p i t a l i s t s . The degra- d a t i o n of Artamonovs i s m ainly connected with t h e i r approach t o business. By showing how business took hold of I l y a ' s c h i l d r e n and moulded t h e i r l i v e s , d e p r i v i n g them of any r e a l happiness, Corky wants t o symbolise t h e process of dehumanls a t i o n i n h e r e n t i n c a p i t a l i s t accumulation of wealth. The d i s i n t e g r a t i o n process of Artamonovs s t a r t s with t h e second generation. I l y a ' s e l d e r son P y o t r s ays: dumped t h e whole business on m shoulders. y w heel and I d o n o t know where I am r o l l i n g . " Works - ( E ) , V I I I . 5 4J 'Father I spin l i k e a L -collected The second son N i k i t a , t r y i n g t o f r e e h imself from t h e d i r t and "nonsense" of family l i f e , goes t o j ment o f N i k i t a t e s t i f i e s t h e moral bankruptcy o f c a p i t a l i s t s . 1 Ilya's f o s t e r - s o n Alexei e x p r e s s e s t h e f e a t u r e s of t h e new bourgeois t o whom p i t y i s a n unknown emotion. Yakov l e a d s a t h o u g h t l e s s , p a r a s i t i c l i f e . / an I / P y o t r ' s son He f e e l s himself u nwanted g u e s t i n t h e f a c t o r y . I l y a t e l l s h i s e l d e r son i n t h e beginning: p r i s e must advance l i k e a n army on t h e march. "Our e n t e r - There must b e p l e n t y of works f o r you, your c h i l d r e n and your g r a n d c h i l d r e n , f o r t h r e e hundred y e a r s t o come. W Artamonovs--we e must b r i n g (E), new l i f e t o t h e c o u n t r y ' s b u s i n e s s . " r ~ o l l e c t e d V I I I , 55-7 B ut i n f i f t y t h r e e y e a r s e v e r y t h i n g i s l o s t and t h e y were n o t even i n a p o s i t i o n t o s t a n d on t h e i r own l e g s . The Artamonov dynasty i s d i s p o s e d by t h e r e v o l u t i o n o f 1917. P a r a l l e l t o t h e d e g e n e r a t i o n of a b o u r g e o s i e f a m i l y , Corky draws t h e growth o f a w orkers' f a m i l y , t h a t o f weaver Morozov, a l s o through t h r e e g e n e r a t i o n s . Class i n t e r e s t is a l i e n t o B o r i s Morozov o f t h e f i r s t g e n e r a t i o n and Ivan Morozov o f t h e second g e n e r a t i o n . The f e a t u r e s o f a new worker, who i s c onscious o f worker's r i g h t s , appear only i n Zakhor Morozov, t h e son o f I v a n , who f i g h t s a g a i n s t t h e d y n a s t y o f t h e Artamonovs. I n t h e novel t h e d i r e c t a c t i o n of revolutionaries is not depicted. Some members from t h e t h i r d g e n e r a t i o n of Artamonovs a l s o J o i n t h e p r o g r e s s i v e movement of t h e p e r i o d . Tikhon, t h e s e r v a n t of Artamonovs, who had been w i t h them a l l t h e time, b u r s t s o u t a t h i s m a s t e r s when t h e time comes. Corky a l s o shows how t h e family r e l a t i o n s h i p i s b eing loosened from g e n e r a t i o n t o generation. The head of t h e family I l y a l i v e d and worked f o r t h e well-being of h i s c h i l d r e n . h i s d e a t h he a d v i s e s h i s c h i l d r e n : d on't d i v i d e t h e property! "Keep t o g e t h e r , you t hree-- Don't q u a r r e l . you anywhere. P y o t r , you a r e t h e e l d e s t . everything--do you hear? N w go. o Before Enmity won't b r i n g You answer f o r . . ." (Artamonovs, p. 83) But P y o t r , being c r u e l and s e l f i s h , t r i e s t o make t h e business h i s own and t h a t h i s c h i l d r e n ' s . The townfolks f i r m l y b elieved t h a t P y o t r had forced N i k i t a t o t a k e vows, i n o r d e r t o g a i n c o n t r o l over h i s s h a r e of t h e i r f a t h e r ' s business. He even dared t o k i l l a b oy, h i s s o n ' s f r i e n d , t o avoid h i s "bad influence1'. But u n f o r t u n a t e l y a l l h i s c h i l d r e n a c t a g a i n s t h i s w i l l and d e s i r e . P a r a l l e l t o t h e d e p i c t i o n of contemporary Russian r e a l i t y , one can s e e i n t h e works of Corky how h i s l i f e l o n g moral q u e s t t a k e s t h e form o f a s e a r c h f o r heroes who would l i b e r a t e man from a l l his s u f f e r i n g s and m i s e r i e s . a r e not inevitable. He says: For Corky, s u f f e r i n g s " I had not seen much joy i n m y l i f e , b u t I f e l t t h a t i t s s u f f e r i n g was f o r t u i t o u s , n o t i n e v i t a b l e . " r ~ o l l e c t e d orks (E), I , 449J W I n h i s search f o r t h e new f o r c e s , Corky approached d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l s t r a t a f o r people who shared h i s i d e a s and sentiments. Being unable t o f i n d o u t a r e a l r e v o l u t i o n a r y hero among t h e masses, Corky embodied h i s i d e a l s of a freedom-loving hero 1 02 i n l e g e n d a r y f o l k l o r e and a l l e g o r i c f i g u r e s a s s e e n i n "Makar C hudra" ( 1 892). "Old I z e r g i l " ( 1 8%), "Song o f Falcon" ( 1 901 ) a nd "The Song of t h e Stormy P e t r e l " ( 1901). The main f e a t u r e s o f "Makar C hudra" a r e a p r o t e s t a g a i n s t s l a v i s h n e s s and t h e triumph of a f r e e man. Loyko Z obar, t h e h e r o o f t h e s t o r y , r e f u s e d t o s u r r e n d e r h i s freedom even t o l o v e . The proud, s t r o n g and independent man, c a p a b l e o f performing a f e a t , i s p o r t r a y e d more d e e p l y and a r t i s t i c a l l y i n t h e s t o r y "Old H ere t h e e goisnt a nd c r u e l t y of L a r r a i s c o n t r a s t e d Izergil". w i t h t h e s e l f l e s s l o v e o f Danko, t h e h e r o who, i n o r d e r t o s a v e h i s p e o p l e , gave u p h i s l i f e . Among t h e p r o g r e s s i v e c i r c l e s i n Russian s o c i e t y "The song o f t h e Stormy P e t r e l " was g r e e t e d a s a p a s s i o n a t e r e v o l u t i o n a r y proclamation. Gorky w rote i n h i s poem: The s t o r m i s b reaking. storm! f u r y . " L -collected . . . L e t u s break i n a l l i t s Works (E), I , 3 65J hymn o f t h e r e v o l u t i o n . " It's t h e T hat was t h e b a t t l e The p r o l e t a r i a t i s p r e p a r i n g f o r t h e s t r u g g l e , i t i s u n i t e d l y and b o l d l y marching t o meet t h e storm. With t h e appearance o f t h i s poem Gorky h i m s e l f began t o be called "Petrel". T he romantic tendency and t h e s p i r i t of p r o t e s t i n Corky's s h o r t s t o r i e s r a n p a r a l l e l t o t h e t r e n d of c r i t i c a l realism. Lunacharsky w r i t e s : t i v e type. protesters. " A p r o t e s t e r was G orky's p o s i - F o r a l o n g t i m e he had a s p e c i a l a f f e c t i o n f o r . . . These were men who would n o t a c c e p t l i f e , who found themselves d i s l o d g e d from i t, n o t because t h e y had 1I I d o i n g s o t h e y had l o s t t h e i r f o o t i n g and l a c k e d t h e s t r e n g t h t o overcome l i f e . These were men who had much moral b u t l i t t l e physical strength." fC o l l e c t e d Works ( E l , s t o r y " Q u a r r e l " i s p erhaps t h e b e s t example. 1, 8-7 T he The hero, a worker, r e s i g n s h i s job p r o t e s t i n g a g a i n s t t h e m a s t e r ' s i n j u s t i c e , b e a t s h i s w i f e who c r i t i c i s e s him, l e a v e s home but a t l a s t r e t u r n s t o r e c o n c i l e himself t o t h e e x i s t i n g c o n d i t i o n s . The m ain m otif of Corky's romantic work i s t h e romance o f freedom, t h e c a l l t o a c t i o n , t o heroic deeds, t o a heroic l i f e . Against t h e r o m a n t i c a l l y a b s t r a c t background t h e young Corky modelled t h e image o f h i s hero: t h e l i b e r a t o r , t h e s e l f l e s s champion of h i s people. S t r o n g men and women who m a i n t a i n t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y a r e C orky's f a v o u r i t e heroes and h e r o i n e s . He p o r t r a y e d r e b e l s and r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s n o t only from t h e lower ranks b u t a l s o from t h e upper c l a s s . Thus i n h i s f i r s t n o v e l - C ordeev Corky p o r t r a y s i n t h e background o f t h e l i f e of Russian merchants t h e t r a g i c f a t e of an extremely e n e r g e t i c p e r s o n , a s o l i t a r y r e b e l who r o s e a g a i n s t t h e moral p r i n c i p l e s o f h i s own c l a s s . Foma i s u n a b l e t o a c c e p t t h e philosophy of p l u n d e r p r a c t i s e d by h i s own c l a s s . He r i s e s i n r e v o l t , b u t he i s a l o n e and @ e r e f o r e i mpotent i n h i s h a t r e d of c a p i t a l i s m . t h e merchants: "Have you no conscience? Yes, g old i s y our God. ciences. Foma t e l l s Have you no God? And you have d r i v e n away your cons- Where have you d r i v e n them t o , you blood-suckers? lo4 You l i v e a t o t h e r p e o p l e ' s expense, you work w i t h o t h e r p e o p l e ' s hands. How many people have shed t e a r s of blood because o f your 'mighty works'? l i k e you." H e l l i s t o o good a p l a c e f o r b a s t a r d s L -collected Works (E), I , 2 9 2 - 2 9 3 7 By t h e end of t h e 1890s a nd t h e beginning of t h e new c e n t u r y we f i n d Gorky coming t o g r i p s w i t h h i s hero and t h e main theme. This can be s e e n i n h i s s h o r t n o v e l The Three a s well a s i n h i s plays The P h i l i s t i n e s and Enemies. Gorky p r e s e n t s working men w i t h s o c i a l i s t l e a n i n g s . a r e immature and i n s p i r e d by spontaneous a c t i o n s . - Three I n The B ut t h e y The h e r o e s who a r e unhappy w i t h t h e i r s u r r o u n d i n g s and w i t h t h e i r own l i f e , seek a b e t t e r way of l i f e . Lunev, one of them, k i l l s a m erchant t o f i n d a s o l u t i o n f o r h i s problems and when he i s a r r e s t e d commits s u i c i d e . The -Philistines d e p i c t s t h e p e t t i n e s s of t h e lower m iddle c l a s s i n c o n t r a s t w i t h t h e v i g o u r and optimism of a new man from t h e p r o l e t a r i a t . t h e play. Two c o n f l i c t s a r e p o r t r a y e d i n The f i r s t I s b etween t h e f a t h e r and the c h i l d r e n of t h e Besseminov family. Besseminov's son P e t e r j o i n s t h e s t u d e n t s ' movement and was e x p e l l e d from t h e U n i v e r s i t y . His d a u g h t e r Tatyana a c c e p t s a t e a c h i n g job, breaking t h e f a m i l y tradition. But both t h e son and t h e d a u g h t e r a t l a s t a r e reconciled with t h e i r father. Besseminov and h i s worker Neel. The second c o n f l i c t i s b etween N eel t e l l s h i s master: y " Stop s h o u t i n g , t h i s i s m house t o o , i f you want t o know i t. F or t e n y e a r s I h ave been working and handing o v e r m wages y t o you. Not a l i t t l e of m money h a s gone i n t o a l l t h i s . y ... He t h e one who works i s t h e master." r ~ o l l e c t e d orks (E), W I n Corky's f i r s t n o v e l s and p l a y s one can f i n d a romantic h e r o , a n i n d i v i d u a l r e b e l who p r o t e s t s s t o r m i l y a g a i n s t t h e e x i s t i n g o r d e r of t h i n g s , a g a i n s t s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e and who I/ s t r i v e s t o b r e a k o u t of t h e c o n f i n e s of h i s own s o c i a l m i l i e u . B ut i n Enemies and Mother G orky h ad a l r e a d y found a new r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e i n d i v i d u a l and t h e s o c i e t y . Here t h e c o n f l i ~ f ha r e no l o n g e r c l a s h e s between i n d i v i d u a l s , b u t t h e y a r e s t r u g g l e s of communities f o r t h e b a s i c o b j e c t i v e s and i d e a l s of l i f e . Here i t i s no l o n g e r a s i n g l e i n d i v i d u a l r e v o l t i n g a g a i n s t s o c i e t y ; t h e s p i r i t of c o l l e c t i v i s m p u l s a t e s i n t h i s book i n which t h e i n d i v i d u a l , l i b e r a t e d from h i s s e l f i s h n e s s i s a bsorbed by t h e c o l l e c t i v e . A s a n a c t i v e p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h e workers' movements, Corky was a b l e t o c o l l e c t a v a s t amount o f f a c t u a l m a t e r i a l on t h e l i f e of t h e Russian p r o l e t a r i a t , and t h e p l a y Enemies was based upon a p o r t i o n o f t h a t m a t e r i a l . The w r i t e r made u s e , f o r i n s t a n c e , of t h e e v e n t s of February-November 1905, a t t h e Morozov Cotton m i l l s i n Orekhovo Zuyevo where t h e workers were a c t i v e i n t h e p o l i t i c a l movement. He was p e r - s o n a l l y a c q u a i n t e d w i t h many of t h o s e who t o o k p a r t i n t h e s e events. Gorky p o r t r a y s i n t h i s p l a y t h e growth of c a p i t a l i s m and consequent c o n f l i c t s between t h e c a p i t a l i s t s and t h e proletariat. The p l a y a l s o shows how t h e movement of t h e I ! ' I 06 p r o l e t a r i a t r o s e t o t h e l e v e l of p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e and how t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t h e Bolsheviks was growing among t h e masses. Workers a r e shown i n t h e p l a y a s f i g h t e r s f o r t h e i r r i g h t s . S i n t s o v , a c l e r k , appears t o be a r e v o l u t i o n a r y i n t h e p l a y . The o t h e r workers l i k e L evshin, Akimov and Yagodin a l s o go hand i n hand w i t h S i n t s o v . Through t h e words of N i k o l a i , a r e v o l u t i o n a r y , t h e a u t h o r c a l l s upon t h e people t o u n i t e and p r e s e r v e t h e f ruits o f human endeavour: " C i v i l i s e d p eople of a l l countries unite! I t i s t ime t o s h o u t t h a t ; high time! The b a r b a r i a n s a r e coming, t o t r a m p l e i n t h e d u s t t h e f ruits o f thousands o f y e a r s of human endeavour. They a r e on t h e way, i m p e l l e d by t h e i r greed." f - c o l l e c t e d Works ( E ) , I V , 579-580-7 The t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y working man s t e p p e d on t o t h e s t a g e o f h i s t o r y as a m ajor c h a r a c t e r , one who was r e s o l u t e l y t a k i n g m a t t e r s i n t o h i s own hands, shaping e v e n t s a c c o r d i n g t o h i s needs. Mother. Gorky i n t r o d u c e d t h i s new c h a r a c t e r i n h i s n o v e l K . E . V oroshilov w r i t e s t h a t Mother i s r e a l l y a n autobiography of t h e working c l a s s . Long b e f o r e Gorky wrote Mother, r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of t h e working c l a s s had appeared i n Russian and European l i t e r a t u r e s . The new wave o f i n t e r e s t i n t h e theme of t h e working c l a s s developed i n t h e middle of t h e 80s o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y and t h e n d u r i n g t h e f i r s t R ussian r e v o l u t i o n . The s i g n s o f s o c i a l s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s of t h e p r o l e t a r i a t a r e s e e n i n t h e n o v e l D e s t r u c t i o n ( 1869) w r i t t e n by G , I . U spensky. But t h e h e r o o f t h e n o v e l c ould 107 n o t r i s e i n r e v o l t making p o l i t i c a l demands. C h a r l e s Dickens, George E l i o t , Emile Z ola and o t h e r s a l s o wrote g r e a t works on workers. But i n t h e i r works, workers a r e d e p i c t e d a s v i c t i m s of c a p i t a l i s m , o p p r e s s e d by t h e s u r r o u n d i n g s and t h e i r a g i t a t i o n s a r e n o t i n s p i r e d by s o c i a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s and h i g h i d e a l s . I n c o n t r a s t t o t h e romantic and t h e r e a l i s t i c l i t e r a t u r e of t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , Gorky shows i n Mother a p o s i t i v e h e r o who i n h i s own s o c i a l p r a c t i c e a c t s i n t h e name of a n i d e a l and f i g h t s f o r t h e r e a l i z a t i o n o f t h a t i d e a l w i t h t h e s u p p o r t of a community. The c h a r a c t e r s i n Mother a r e n o t a b s t r a c t Utopian r o m a n t i c s ; t h e y a r e modelled i n c o n c r e t e h i s t o r i c a l o u t l i n e s and r e f l e c t s t h e a c t u a l l i f e and a c t i v i t i e s o f t h e p r o g r e s s i v e men and women i n Russian s o c i e t y a t t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y . P ave1 V lasov, t h e h e r o i n Mother, i s t h e r e a l p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of Gorky's i d e a s about a p o s i t i v e h e r o . I n the b e g i n n i n g he i s p o r t r a y e d a s an o r d i n a r y worker. L i f e compels him t o l e a r n c e r t a i n u n p l e a s a n t t r u t h s . He r e a d s t h e p r o h i b i t e d r e v o l u t i o n a r y l i t e r a t u r e and keeps i n t o u c h w i t h t h e r e v o l u ,tionary intelligentsia. Through t h e l i f e of Vlasov Gorky shows one of t h e i m p o r t a n t s t a g e s i n t h e h i s t o r y of t h e Russian emancipation movement--the u n i f i c a t i o n of spontaneous workers' r e v o l t s w i t h s o c i a l i s m and r e v o l u t i o n a r y Marxism. The h e r o e s i n Mother r a i s e t h e f l a g o f r e v o l u t i o n a r y s c i e n t i f i c socialism. The novel mainly d e a l s w i t h s o c i a l i s t humanism, t h e theme b e i n g t h e b i r t h of a new man, t h e growth I I [ I I ( I C orky shows i n t h e n o v e l t h a t t h e p r o l e t a r i a n movement w i l l b e s u c c e s s f u l only i f i t i s c onnected w i t h t h e freedom a t r u g g l e o f t h e masses. The workers f e l t t h a t t h e y had no o t h e r w ay t o h a p p i n e s s , b e s i d e s t h e one t hrough w hish had passed t h e i r predecessors. The worker s e e s i n Mother t h e i r f a t e p a s t , p r e s e n t , and f u t u r e . Reading it t h e y become convinced t h a t t h e y w i l l b e s u c c e s s f u l i f t h e y l i s t e n t o t h e words of P a v e l V larov, "Go f orward!" A 1 1 t h e s e f e a t u r e s make t h e n o v e l a h e r o i c epopee of t h e s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e o f t h e working c l a s s f o r socialism. P a v e l t e l l s t h e jury : W a r e s o c i a l i s t s . T h a t means we a r e a g a i n s t p r i v a t e e p r o p e r t y , an i n s t i t u t i o n which d i s i n t e g r a t e s s o c i e t y , s ets p eople a g a i n s t one a n o t h e r . W want t o f i g h t e and w i l l f i g h t a g a i n s t a l l t h e forms o f p h y s i c a l and moral s l a v e r y e n f o r c e d on t h e i n d i v i d u a l by such a s o c i e t y , a g a i n s t a l l means o f c r u s h i n g human beings i n t h e i n t e r e s t s of s e l f i s h greed. W a r e workers, e p e o p l e by whose l a b o u r a l l t h i n g s a r e made, from c h i l d r e n ' s t o y s t o massive machines; y e t we a r e p e o p l e d e p r i v e d of t h e r i g h t t o d e f e n d o u r human d i g n i t y . Anyone i s a b l e t o e x p l o i t u s f o r h i s own p e r s o n a l ends. A t p r e s e n t we want t o a c h i e v e a d e g r e e of freedom which w i l l e v e n t u a l l y e n a b l e u s t o t a k e a l l power i n t o o u r own hands. Our s l o g a n s a r e "All s i m p l e enough: "Down w i t h p r i v a t e property!" p ower i n t h e hands of t h e p eople!" "No o ne exempt from work!" You can s e e from t h i s t h a t we a r e n o t mere r e b e l s ! f ~ o t h e r , p . 350-7 C orky shows t h a t t o become a r e a l r e v o l u t i o n a r y i s n o t an e a s y job. I n t h e b e g i n n i n g P a v e l and h i s f r i e n d s c a n n o t win t h e h e a r t s o f h i s co-workers. was v e r y much d i s a p p o i n t e d . Vlasov, t e l l s him: A f t e r t h e copek a g i t a t i o n P ave1 A t t h a t t i m e Rybin, a f r i e n d of "You speak w e l l , b u t you d o n ' t t o u c h t h e 1 09 That i s what! heart! You have t o speak t o t h e i r h e a r t s - - throw t h e spark i n t h e very c e n t r e . by r e a s o n i n g with them. t i g h t , t o o narrow!" You cannot convince people The shoe d o e s n ' t f i t t h e foot--too L- other, p. 7 9 3 But f a i l u r e does n o t s t o p t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s from t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . With g r e a t e f f o r t t h e y could f i n a l l y win t h e f a i t h of o t h e r workers. The May day demonstration t e s t i f i e s t o t h i s f a c t . I n t h e novel P a v e l and h i s f r i e n d s had t o f i g h t with t h e i r own drawbacks and w i t h t h e p o l i t i c a l and i d e o l o g i c a l immaturity of workers. s a y s t o P avel V lasov: One of t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n Mother, Feodr " I f anybody e v e r d a r e s s t r i k e me I ' l l t hrow myself i n t o him l i k e a k n i f e . I w i l l b i t e him w i t h m y Let them k i l l m r i g h t away and g e t i t o ver with." e teeth. other, hauling. p. 6 5 3 A s R ybin says: "People need a good over- I f a f e l l o w g e t s l o u s y t a k e him t o t h e b a t h house. g i v e him a good s c r u b b i n g and p u t him i n t o c l e a n c l o t h e s . Then he w i l l b e p r e s e n t a b l e again. up a f e l l o w i n s i d e ? But how can you c l e a n That i s t h e thing." r ~ o t h e r ,p. 67 2 B ut we s e e t h a t Rybin himself had t o be l i b e r a t e d from unf a i t h f u l n e s s towards t h e i n t e l l i g e n t s i a and from h i s a n a r c h i c s t a t e o f mind. Mother g i v e s answer t o t h e above q u e s t i o n showing t h e p u r i f i c a t i o n e f f e c t of r e v o l u t i o n a r y s t r u g g l e . A s R ufus Mathewson says Mother c o n t a i n s two formulas: t h e p o l i t i c a l heroism i n t h e f a c e o f t e r r i b l e o b s t a c l e s and t h e conversion o f i n n o c e n t , t h e i g n o r a n t , o r t h e misled t o a r i c h e r l i f e of p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h e forward movement o f 110 ~ o c i e t y . ~ he second formula i s shown i n d e t a i l and convinT c i n g l y through t h e example o f t h e l i f e o f Nilovna, who had t o be l i b e r a t e d h e r s e l f from two e n e m i e s - i n t e r n a l and e x t e r n a l . The f i r s t theme i s e mbodied i n Pavel and t h e second i n t h e f i g u r e of Nilovna, whose l i f e i s t ransformed by a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y movement. G orky's m oral p o s i t i o n i s e x p r e s s e d through t h e charac t e r Nilovna, t h e h e r o i n e o f t h e novel. working woman. She i s a s i m p l e I n t h e beginning s h e i s n o way d i f f e r from hundreds of o t h e r working c l a s s mothers, who a r e t o r t u r e d by drunken brawls and b e a t i n g s a t home, But when P a v e l becomes a r e v o l u t i o n a r y , s h e t a k e s h e r s t a n d f o r him and advances w i t h him s i d e by s i d e . N i l o v n a ' s p a t h i n t h e novel is t h e path of t h e rank-and-file worker who comes t o t h e revolution. P a v e l ' s c omrades a l s o c a l l h e r mother. It is t h r o u g h h e r and through t h e i r a t t i t u d e t o t h e mother, t h a t t h e s e r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s sensed t h e i r t r u e brotherhood and t h e y became conscious of t h e brotherhood o f a l l men. A mother's l o v e i n h e r prompts Nilovna t o i d e n t i f y h e r s e l f w i t h t h e revolutionary struggle. I t is t h e revolutionary struggle t h a t h e l p s h e r t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e g r e a t happiness and respons i b i l i t y o f being a mother t o h e r s o n and h i s f r i e n d s . That i s why, Nilovna who embarks on t h e road of r e v o l u t i o n a r y s t r u g g l e , and n o t h e r s o n P a v e l , i s p u t i n t h e c e n t r e of t h e novel. Besides Nilovna, a number o f women c h a r a c t e r s w i t h r e v o l u t i o n a r y s p i r i t a r e p r e s e n t e d i n Corky's works. 111 F o r i n s t a n c e , Natasha, Sasha and Sophia (Mother) a r e f u l l y d e d i c a t e d t o t h e c a u s e o f human l i b e r a t i o n . They work day and n i g h t t o g e t h e r w i t h o t h e r men r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s and o f t e n show more courage t h a n men. Sasha, Y egor s ays: While Nilovna sympathises w i t h " J a i l h a s n ' t done h e r any good. used t o be s t r o n g e r . " f- other, She p. 94-7 T he most a t t r a c t i v e c h a r a c t e r s i n Corky's d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s o m c hildhood a r e women, w i t h t h e p o s s i b l e e x c e p t i o n of h i s mother. F r u s t r a t e d i n h i s need f o r m a t e r n a l a f f e c - t i o n , Gorky t r a n s f e r r e d h i s l o v e t o t h e Grandmother. r e c a l l s about h i s grandmother: Gorky " I was p a r t i c u l a r l y outraged by t h e a c c e p t e d a t t i t u d e towards women. M r e a d i n g had y t a u g h t me t h a t l i f e h e l d n o t h i n g f i n e r o r more meaningful t h a n a woman. T h i s view had been confirmed by m grandmother y and h e r t a l e s about t h e V i r i g i n a nd V a s s i l i s a t h e Wise, by t h e u n f o r t u n a t e wash woman Natalya, and by t h o s e hundreds and thousands of s m i l e s and g l a n c e s w i t h which I h ad s e e n women, t h e mothers of l i f e , b eauty and e x i s t e n c e only t o o wanting i n joy and l o v e . " 6 C orky's grandmother was kind and humane. T h i s u n f o r g e t t a b l e c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n of h i s grandmother i s o ne of Corky's m a s t e r p i e c e s . t o show i n Nilovna I t i s q u i t e p o s s i b l e t h a t he wanted o other) w hat h i s grandmother would have become under o t h e r circumstances. Gorky always had a g r e a t r e s p e c t f o r women. F o r him, man's most i n t e l l i g e n t achievement i s h i s c a p a c i t y o r a r t o f l o v i n g women and worshipping t h e i r beauty. Everything b e a u t i - f u l i n t h e world owes i t s o r i g i n t o l o v e of women. Throughout 112 h i s works Gorky p o i n t s o u t t h a t i g n o r a n t and b e s t i a l men s e e women only a s o b j e c t s of p l e a s u r e , and t a l k only of t h e i r feminine q u i r k s , l i e s and w i l e s . them. He s ays: Gorky does n o t a g r e e w i t h " I b egan t o t h i n k t o o much about women, a l r e a d y c o n s i d e r i n g t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of spending m n e x t day y o f f , where t h e o t h e r s took t h e i r p l e a s u r e . prompted by p h y s i c a l d e s i r e . This w a s not I was h e a l t h y and f a s t i d i o u s . But a t t i m e s I had a d e s p e r a t e l o n g i n g t o embrace someone t e n d e r and u n d e r s t a n d i n g , someone t o whom I c ould p o i n t out m a n g u i s h , a s t o a mother. 117 y Gorky p r e s e n t s i n h i s works a whole g a l l e r y of women characters. They a r e oppressed n o t only by t h e s o c i a l e v i l s , b u t a l s o by t h e i r own people--husbands and c h i l d r e n . For l i v e l i h o o d t h e y a r e compelled t o go t o t h e s t r e e t s . ("Once i n A utumm," " Creepy C rawlies," "My t r a v e l l i n g companion," etc.) Though t h e y a r e v i c t i m s o f t h e s o c i e t y , t h e y t r y t o escape from t h a t l i f e . t h a n men. Sometimes t h e y show more courage For i n s t a n c e , i n t h e s t o r y "Once i n Autumn" a f a l l e n lady helps t h e depressed hero-narrator. They a r e d e p i c t e d w i t h t h e i r m a t e r n a l a f f e c t i o n , which g i v e s them courage t o f a c e any s i t u a t i o n . The s l a v e r y of women a t home and i n s o c i e t y and t h e i r s e x u a l anarchy a l s o f i n d t h e i r p l a c e i n t h e novel The Artarnonovs. Gorky shows t h a t non-marital s e x i s comrnon i n c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y . For i n s t a n c e , t h e r e l a - t i o n s h i p between I l y a Artamonov and Baimokova, widow and mother o f h i s daughter-in-law, P y o t r and Zainada, and L e i t n a n t and P o l i n a a r e a r t i s t i c a l l y and powerfully p o r t r a y e d i n t h e 1 / t h e i r flowers. They come t o u s f o r honey. That i s w hat you h ave g o t t o u n d e r s t a n d , m d e a r , and l e a r n t o b e a r i t. y a r e t h e masters i n everything. They have more c a v e s t h a n d orks ( E ) , V I I I , 77-7 we.'' L -collected Man with c a p i t a l 'MI was C o r k y ' s r e l i g i o n . I 1 Men I t was t h i s u n c o n d i t i o n a l f a i t h i n Man t h a t gave him a b s o l u t e author i t y o v e r h i s younger contemporaries and s e n i o r i t y among f o r e i g n humanists. man. G orky was always a g a i n s t t h e abuse of C r i t i c i s i n g t h e c o n c l u s i o n s reached by a l l t h o s e who sought t o debase man, Corky wrote: For m t h e r e a r e no i d e a s t h a t e x i s t o u t s i d e e of man; f o r m i t i s man and o n l y man t h a t i s e t h e c r e a t o r of a l l t h i n g s and a l l i d e a s ; i t i s h e t h a t i s a m iracle-worker and t h e f u t u r e l o r d of a l l N a t u r e ' s f o r c e s . d h a t i s m ost b e a u t i f u l i n t h i s world, of o u r s h a s been c r e a t e d by man's l a b o u r , by h i s c l e v e r hands; a l l o u r t h o u g h t s and i d e a s s p r i n g from t h e p r o c e s s of I f t h e r e i s n eed t o speak of t h e labour. "sacred," then I w i l l say t h a t t h e only t h i n g I h o l d s a c r e d i s m an's d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with h i m s e l f , h i s s t r i v i n g t o become b e t t e r t h a n he i s . ... I n almost a l l h i s works Gorky h a s t r i e d t o p r o j e c t t h e g r e a t n e s s of Man. Thus i n h i s p l a y The Lower Depths Corky s a y s through t h e words of S a t i n : me--or you--or them. o l d man and Mahomet. 'IWhat i s Man? I t i s not . . , I t i s you and me and them and t h e . . . A l l r o l l e d i n t o one! . . . You see? I I t ' s t remendous! A l l t h e beginnings and a l l t h e ends a r e h e r e e v e r y t h i n g i n Man--everything, f o r Man! Only Man e x i s t s , e v e r y t h i n g e l s e i s t h e work o f h i s hand and b r a i n ! kind!--It's magnificent: m ust be r e s p e c t e d - - n o t Respected. ... I t s ounds so proud! Human Man! Man ... p i t i e d , n o t h u m i l i a t e d with p i t y ! Gorky had a p a s s i o n f o r mankind. Typical of t h i s i s t h e " B i r t h of a Man' i n which he d e s c r i b e s a young p e a s a n t woman, a m i g r a t o r y worker, who, while on t h e road,, g i v e s b i r t h t o a son. narrator. She i s h elped by t h e tramp who i s t h e The b l e n d i n g of t e n d e r n e s s i n t h i s s t o r y conveys t h e f u l l c h a r a c t e r of C o r k y ' s r o b u s t humanness. of t h e s t o r y says: " I was t e r r i b l y s o r r y f o r h e r , and i t seemed a s i f h e r t e a r s were gushing from m eyes. y gripped The n a r r a t o r Anguish m h e a r t and 1 f e l t l i k e screaming." L -collected y Works (E), I , 400J L ikewise i n "Creepy C rawlies" when t h e handicapped son of a p r o s t i t u t e s m i l e d engagingly, a s m i l e s o sweet t h e n a r r a t o r f e l t l i k e b l u b b e r i n g , c r y i n g o u t f o r t h e whole town t o h e a r him, s o d e e p l y wrung was h i s h e a r t with compassion. And a t l a s t he l e a v e s t h e yard q u i c k l y g r i n d i n g h i s t e e t h t o keep from howling. I n another s t o r y " Emilyan P i l a i l l t h e tramp who i s s e t t o k i l l f o r money, abandons h i s c r i m i n a l i n t e n t i o n s because a g i r l , a b o u t t o commit s u i c i d e , needs h e l p . Gorky's d e p i c t i o n of man d i s c r e d i t s t h e way i n which man i s w i l l i n g t o a d a p t himself t o c i r c u m s t a n c e s , bowing down t o f a t e . A l i S a r d a r J a f r i says: " Gorky's humanism i s 1 15 I i / t 1 t o be s e e n n o t only i n h i s g r e a t l o v e of man, b u t a l s o i n t h e a c t i v e e f f o r t s t o h e l p him t o r i s e t o b e t t e r t h i n g s . The very e s s e n c e of G orkyts humanism made him uncompromising w i t h t h o s e I f o r whom m an's i nhumanity t o man war one o f t h e b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s of e x i s t e n c e and who defended s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e and s p r e a d misery among m i l l i o n s . lt9 G orky expressed a new concept o f humanism and c r e a t e d t h e t h e o r y of r e v o l u t i o n a r y humanism. I I H i s c l a s s humanism g r a d u a l l y developed i n t o s o c i a l i s t humanism. Gorky used t h e term " a c t i v e humanismt1 w hich means t h a t humanism w i l l n o t be r e a l i f i t i s n o t connected w i t h t h e a c t i v e i n d i g - n a t i o n t o every kind o f s u f f e r i n g s , e s p e c i a l l y t h e s u f f e r i n g s o u t of socio-ecanomic r e a s o n s . Revolutionary humanism i s a lways connected w i t h t h e s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t e v e r y t h i n g t h a t i s i n i m i c a l t o man anQ h umanity. The problem o f a new man, h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p t o s o c i e t y and humanism, i s t h e c e n t r a l theme o f G o r k y t s w orks. The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f e a t u r e of t h e s o c i a l i s t humanism of Gorky i s h i s outlook on t h e working man a s t h e c r e a t o r and master of h i s t o r y , who c o n s i d e r s t h e aim o f l i f e t o work f o r t h e b e n e f i t and goodness o f man. Through t h e words o f Khokhol (Mother) Gorky says: I know t h e t i m e w i l l come when people w i l l w onder a t t h e i r own b e a u t y , when each w i l l be a l i f e s t a r t o a l l t h e o t h e r s . The e a r t h w i l l b e peopled with f r e e men, g r e a t i n t h e i r freedom. The h e a r t s of a l l w i l l b e open, and every h e a r t w i l l b e i n n o c e n t o f envy and malice. Then l i f e w i l l be transformed i n t o t h e g r e a t s e r v i c e of Man, and Man w i l l h ave become something f i n e and e x a l t e d , f o r a l l t h i n g s a r e a t t a i n a b l e t o t h o s e who a r e f r e e . Then people w i l l l i v e i n t r u t h and freedom f o r t h e s a k e o f b e a u t y , and t h e b e s t people w i l l b e accounted f o r t h o s e whose h e a r t s a r e most c a p a b l e of embracing t he w orld and o f l o v i n g i t , t h o s e who a r e most f r e e , f o r i n them l i e s t h e g r e a t e s t beauty. They w i l l b e g r e a t p e o p l e , t h o s e of t h e new l i f e ! i ! 1 A l l t h e l a t e r works of Gorky a r e , i n a way an a t t e m p t t o g i v e a s o c i a l a n a l y s i s of t h e downfall of Russian c a p i t a l i s m . a nd were h a i l e d a s such by S o v i e t c r i t i c s . His last / was a t e t r o l o g i c s l c h r o n i c l e K l i m S amgin, t h e f o u r t h p a r t of I w hich, t h e a u t h o r could n o t complete. j The a u t h o r ' s aim was t o g i v e a c h r o n o l o g i c a l account of Russian l i f e e ncompassing a l l t h e i d e o l o g i c a l b a t t l e s among t h e i n t e l l e c t u a l s . It m ight be c o n s i d e r e d a s a f i c t i o n a l i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h e h i s t o r y o f pre-Revolutionary Russia. " I n Samgin I would l i k e t o n a r r a t e , i f p o s s i b l e , about e v e r y t h i n g t h a t happened i n our c o u n t r y i n 40 y e a r s , " ' s a y s t h e author. Gorky d e p i c t s i n t h e n o v e l a l l t h e c l a s s e s , t r e n d s and c u r r e n t s a t t h e end o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y and t h e s torms o f t h e beginning o f t h e t w e n t i e t h century. Gorky w r i t e s , "Now I w r i t e a v e r y b i g book i n which I want t o show, how l i v e d and thought Russian p e o p l e , what were t h e y doing f rom 1 880s t o 1919." f l a l e c t e d Ka&a ( R ) , XXX, , 357 C e r t a i n l y a l l t h e p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l and l i t e r a r y l i f e of t h e e r a i s d e p i c t e d i n t h e novel. Gorky p u t i n t h i s n o v e l t h e sum t o t a l o f h i s o b s e r v a t i o n s on Russian r e a l i t y . This i s t h e moving panorama o f decades. "In Khravchenko says: S amgin Gorky shows u s people n o t o n l y of t h e p a s t b u t a l s o o f t h e world t h a t e x i s t s t o t h i s day d e p i c t i n g them 117 r e f r a c t e d through t h e prism of a man who, a s he i s h imself convinced, belongs t o t h e s p i r i t u a l e l i t e . I n s p i t e of t h i s , however, h i s d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a r e h i s c r e a t i v e impotence and h i s f r u i t l e s s s c e p t i c i s m . " L -collected Works ( R) , X X I X , 461J N ature s e r v e s i n t h e works o f Gorky a s a means f o r t h e e x p r e s s i o n o f t h e hopes and s t r i v i n g s of t h e h e r o e s and o f t h e a u t h o r himself. Gorky's n a t u r e reminds t h e r e a d e r s I t c a l l s upon about c o n t i n u o u s , e t e r n a l innovation of l i f e . man t o approach l i f e more courageously and c r e a t i v e l y . The l a n d s c a p e s i n t h e works o f young Gorky a r e soaked w i t h s o c i a l and p h i l o s o p h i c a l themes. He w r i t e s i n Mother: "In the morning o f 1 s t May N ilovna jumped o u t o f bed and* l i g h t e d t h e samovar. . . . She s a t down a t t h e window, h o l d i n g one hand t o h e r f a c e a s i f s h e had a t ooth-ache. Across t h e p a l e b l u e sky f l o a t e d a c l u s t e r o f pink and w h i t e c l o u d s l i k e a f l o c k o f l a r g e b i r d s f r i g h t e n e d by t h e h i s s i n g o f t h e steam from t h e factory. other, The mother watched t h e c l o u d s dreamily." p. 164-7 Gorky was very keen t o u s e i n h i s works a language which i s e a s i l y a c c e s s i b l e t o common people. language of a w r i t e r must be simple and s h a r p . For him t h e I n one o f h i s open l e t t e r s t o A . S . Syrafeemovich Gorky wrote: "Not a s i n g l e one o f o u r c r i t i c s d i d show t h e w r i t e r s , t h a t t h e i r language i s d i f f i c u l t t o u n d e r s t a n d and t r a n s l a t e i n t o o t h e r languages. A s you know t h e p r o l e t a r i a t has won i n t h e S o v i e t U nion and t h e y a f f i r m t h e i r r i g h t t o d e v e l o p t h e world. It i s t i m e t o have a p r o l e t a r i a n l i t e r a t u r e t o u n d e r s t a n d one's p l a c e and importance i n t h i s g r e a t deed." r c o l l e c t e d ~ o r k s ( ~ ) , X X V I I , 151J I n t h e works of Gorky we c o n t i n u o u s l y meet w i t h v a r i o u s p e o p l e of p r e - r e v o l u t i o n a r y Russia. I n t h e i r descrip- t i o n , Gorky widely opened t h e window o f t h e language o f o r d i n a r y p e o p l e , s i m p l e words and p h r a s e s which g i v e t h e language a f o l k l o r i c colour. Gorky had t o g o through a hard s c h o o l o f e x p e r i e n c e i n his life. He s u f f e r e d from p o v e r t y , t r a v e l l e d a l o t i n s i d e R u s s i a , saw t h e b i t t e r l i f e o f t h e poor and a c q u a i n t e d h i m s e l f w i t h i t f rom h i s own e x p e r i e n c e . So from t h e v e r y e a r l y works, Gorky t r i e d t o show t h e h a r s h r e a l i t y o f Russian l i f e a nd t o f i n d o u t a f o r c e which c o u l d r e o r g a n i s e i t. By e mphasising t h e importance of a r t i n l i t e r a t u r e , Gorky s t r o n g l y propagated t h e w r i t e r ' s r o l e i n t h e r e o r g a n i s a t i o n of l i f e . Gorky t h i n k s t h a t man's s u f f e r i n g s c a n n o t be j u s t i f i e d by blaming t h e circumstances. an who c r e a t e s t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s For him i t i s m and s o h e a l o n e i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r changing i t a l s o . In the s e a r c h f o r a new h e r o Gorky s e l e c t e d t h e d i f f e r e n t g r o u p s of Russian society--vagabonds, beggars, p h i l i s t i n e s , e t c . He d e l i n e a t e s v i c t i m s who have a s t r o n g d e s i r e t o f i g h t a g a i n s t i n j u s t i c e b u t a r e u n a b l e t o d o a n y t h i n g because t h e y a r e weak. Then h e p r e s e n t s r e b e l s who r e v o l t w i t h o u t g e t t i n g any mass support. 119 I n t h e n o v e l Mother Gorky p o r t r a y s t h e r e v o l u t i o n a r y awakening of workers, g i v i n g importance t o t h e i r p u r i f i c a t i o n . Gorky shows workers' s t r e n g t h a s w e l l a s t h e i r weaknesses. The n o v e l Mother r e f l e c t s r e v o l u t i o n a r y s c i e n t i f i c s o c i a l i s m . I n t h i s n o v e l , f o r t h e f i r s t t ime i n world l i t e r a t u r e , Gorky u n i t e d a r t and s o c i a l i s m . Gorky's humanism i s n o t only i n s p i r e d by t h e sympathy towards t h e poor and t h e o p p r e s s e d , b u t a l s o by t h e s t r o n g d e s i r e t o f i g h t a g a i n s t t h e debasement o f man. Gorky always loved man and h a t e d only h i s e v i l practices. He always had a g r e a t r e s p e c t f o r women. He h a s p o r t r a y e d a n umber o f women c h a r a c t e r s a s v i c t i m s of s o c i a l wrongs. A t t h e same time he h a s showed women, who can f i g h t l i k e men, sometimes even s t r o n g e r . I n t h e descrip- t i o n o f women c h a r a c t e r s Gorky g i v e s more importance t o motherhood. Being a w r i t e r o f common f o l k , Gorky was v e r y c a r e f u l t o d e p i c t e v e r y t h i n g i n t h e background of r e a l Russian nature. During t h e S o v i e t p e r i o d Gorky p a i d h i s a t t e n t i o n t o t h e d e p i c t i o n o f t h e Russian p a s t and d e g e n e r a t i o n of Russian capitalism. Thus t hroughout h i s l i t e r a r y works Gorky was q u i t e f a i t h f u l t o t h e s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t i e s o f h i s country. I NOTES ' A n a t o l i L unacharsky, "A P o r t r a i t ," C o l l e c t e d Works by Maxim Corky, I , 1 . (E) M. C orky, M U n i v e r s i t i e s ( MOSCOW:r o g r e s s , 1 968). y P p p. 98-99. I S ee V. I. L enin, C o l l e c t e d Works,XLVIII, 232. M . C orky, Mother (Moscow: P r o g r e s s , 1 9 8 0 ) , p. 1 5. S ubsequent r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n . i R ufus Mathewson ( J r . ) , % P o s i t i v e Hero L i t e r a t u r e , 2nd edn. ( C a l i f o r n i a , m 7 R ussian . &J . M. C orky, A ~ p r e n t i c e s h i a(Moscow: P r o g r e s s , 1 968). P. 412. I b i d . , p . 324. M. C orky, 1 9731, P . 82. The Lower A li S a r d a r J a f r i , Depths (London: Eyre and M etheun, "Modern W r i t e r s about Corky ,I8 C htenive 1 959-60 (Moscow: Nauka, 1 9621, p. 1 04. ...
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