The Great Purge Character Analysis

Decent Essays

Another prominent feature of the novel is the effects of the Great Purge on society. Fear and brutality reigned while logic and decency disappeared. Beginning with fear, this emotion can be seen throughout the novel. Starting at the beginning of the novel, fear is shown when the police come to arrest Rubashov. “‘Be quiet,’ shouted Vassilij, ‘Here is Authority.’ The woman became quiet at once (7)…The house was silent after the one shrill woman’s cry, but they had the feeling that all inhabitants were awake in their beds, holding their breath (8).” When the people in the house realized the police were there, they became very quiet and listened. As people were taken away during the purges, people stayed quiet to avoid becoming involved. This fear is also seen when Richard and Rubashov see a bodyguard of the regime while meeting. Richard is clearly afraid and stammers heavily (39). Another important instance of fear was when Michael Bogrov is being led away for execution—he shouted for help, screams, whimpers, and hangs like a doll (144). Another example of fear is Hare-lip. While in the third hearing with Rubashov and Gletkin, Hare-lip had a hunted gaze, trembling upper lip, a white face, and a sunken head—he “quivered as though struck by a whip” and “in his eyes appeared the flickering of naked animal terror” (200-211). He clearly was terrified and was only offering this testimony due to a desire to stay alive. The book mentioned that Hare-lip looked utterly destroyed—the

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