Voices From Chernobyl Essay

655 Words3 Pages
Of nine hundred Nobel Prize winners, forty-eight have been women and only fourteen women have won the prize for literature. Both the ethnicity and the literary canon of the laureates is far from diverse. In the past, many questions were raised as to why one person was chosen to join this exclusive club over another. Svetlana Alexieviech won for her moving documentation of the struggles the people of Pripyat and the soldiers faced in their lives after the nuclear tragedy. Choosing her to join the society of laureates is no mistake. Her writing fits into the current awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature according to the subject matter, according to the attempts to expand the laureate pool, and according to the unique way she composed her…show more content…
Sigrid Undset and Pearl Buck won the Nobel Prize in Literature for their historical accounts (Jewell 108). Similarly, Svetlana Alexievich’s Nobel Award winning work, Voices from Chernobyl, is an oral history of witnesses of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. All of these works were historical and nonfiction in subject matter, as befits the trend among female Nobel Prize laureates. Additionally, Voices from Chernobyl was written in a journal-like fashion. Its many entries about the philosophies and lives of the people who had lived through the Chernobyl reactor explosion are similar to the travel writings by Selma Lagerlof (Jewell 108). Both works are written to describe the lives of their subjects realistically. The previous works by female laureates in literature are similar to Svetlana Alexievich’s work because they tend not to be fictional. According to Richard Jewell, there is a propensity to not award the prize to women who write fiction. Thus the subject matter of Alexieviech’s work fits the current and historical awarding of the Nobel Prize. Yet it is who the subjects are and what they represent that separates her work from the works of many previous
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