Course Hero. "Dr. Zhivago Study Guide." Course Hero. 27 Oct. 2016. Web. 9 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Dr-Zhivago/>.
Course Hero. (2016, October 27). Dr. Zhivago Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 9, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Dr-Zhivago/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Dr. Zhivago Study Guide." October 27, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Dr-Zhivago/.
Course Hero, "Dr. Zhivago Study Guide," October 27, 2016, accessed May 9, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Dr-Zhivago/.
The last chapter of Doctor Zhivago is a selection of 25 poems written by Yuri throughout the course of the book.
Pasternak was, first and foremost, a poet, so it's only natural that his main character has a knack for writing poetry as well. Medicine may be Yuri's occupation, but poetry is his passion. Yuri's poems span a variety of topics. Some are blatant reactions to experiences in his life while others have more ambiguous origins. Each of the poems, however, can be classified into one or more of three categories: poems about nature, poems about love, and poems about the plight of Jesus Christ. These three categories are dear to Yuri's heart, and he is able to express himself through poetry perhaps even better than through regular conversation.
His interest in religion, particularly the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, speaks to Yuri's belief that the suffering he endures allows him to be a better witness to the events of his lifetime. They also reflect Pasternak's own Christian reawakening. Some literary critics theorize that Yuri himself is a Christ figure, while others view his interest in the resurrection as being related to his views about life living on through art. In the novel Yuri often talks about the connection between art and immortality. As he realizes in Chapter 3, "[a]rt is always, ceaselessly, occupied with two things," life and death. His suffering, like that of Jesus, provides fodder for his art, which will live on long after he dies.
Poetry, of course, is ambiguous by its very nature, and the same poem can be interpreted in a variety of different ways depending on the context. Take "Dawn," for example. While it is commonly accepted that the poem is about Yuri's renewed interest in Christianity, it can also be read as a reaction to Tonya's correspondence after five years of silence. The poem is written in the second person, addressed to someone who "meant everything in my destiny" before the war; afterward, "for a long, long time there was/No word of you, no trace." Knowing about Yuri's past, the reader could connect these words to Yuri's relationship with Tonya before and after World War I and the Russian Civil War. That's the beauty of poetry—it means different things to different people at different times.