Essay about How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed

1036 Words Feb 17th, 2008 5 Pages
How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, written by Croatian author Slavenka Drakulic, details the daily lives of people living under communist rule. She recalls a multitude of personal experiences she has had growing up under a communist regime, and the transition from communism to democracy in the late 1980's. Drakulic seems to have a general dislike for the way the communist government treats its people, and strives to relate these feelings to the reader. She opens her book with a passage about a friend of hers who killed herself by asphyxiating on gas fumes from her oven. Shortly before that she had written an article comparing the ideology of the communist state to that of a pinball machine, "Her article, naïve as it seems today, …show more content…
The most striking economic shortage detailed in the book is that of toilet paper. When toilet paper, a basic part of everyday life in the United States, is considered a luxury item, you know a problem exists. Drakulic states, "Progress in communism was marked by better and better quality toilet paper." (Drakulic 72) Families were forced to use newspaper as toilet paper, revealing the resourcefulness that the people were reduced to just to survive. Finding an apartment for your family was incredibly hard, with waiting lists of up to three years for a small two-room apartment. Most people had to live with their mothers no matter what how old they were, "I have trouble recalling younger people or people of my generation who don't live…with their parents, even if they are past forty." (Drakulic 86) Communism was on a downward slope, and it would not be long until democracy appeared in Eastern Europe.
Although communism officially ended when the democratically elected presidents took power, there was little immediate change in policy or the people's general attitude toward the government. A major change, which would seem like a simple thing in any free society, was the institution of a yellow line in the post office that gave the citizens a sense of privacy that they had never experienced before. The former communist government had their eyes on everyone, and the idea of a "private life" was laughable. Even with the newly created post office
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