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Darkness At Noon Analysis

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The novel, Darkness at Noon, clearly referenced Stalin’s purges that occurred during the late 1930s. The story follows an old Bolshevik—Rubashov—as he experienced the Great Purge and subsequent show trial. Through a theme of old vs. new and the overarching fear and brutality of the time period, Darkness at Noon contributes to a further understanding of the 30s in the Soviet Union. Throughout the novel, the contrast between the old and the new held an important position in the overall story. By underlining this idea, Koestler illustrated the importance of the old and new communists during the Great Purges. The characters of Wassilij, Vera Wassiljovna, Ivanov, and Gletkin showed these contrasting groups. In Soviet politics, the two interrogators illustrated the juxtaposition between old and new. The first interrogator—Ivanov—represented the old guard while his successor—Gletkin—characterized the new guard. Ivanov was an old Bolshevik—he once had a picture of the old party on the wall. A former friend of Rubashov, the two attended university together and fought in the civil war. Despite the circumstances, Ivanov was rather friendly with Rubashov and confessed that he did not want Rubashov to be shot (82). After talking for a while, Rubashov stated,
“I am curious to know,” he said aloud, “what scheme you have for my salvation. The way in which you have examined me up till now seems to have exactly the opposite aim.” Ivanov’s smile became broad and beaming. “You old fool,” he
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