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Ivan Shmelev, "The Sun of the Dead": a brief summary, a genre, main characters

"The Sun of the Dead" (Ivan Shmelev) critics called the most tragic work in the history of world literature. What is so terrible and awesome about him? The answer to this and many other questions can be found in this article.

History of creation and genre features

The second - emigrant - stage of Ivan Shmelev's work was the work "The Sun of the Dead". The genre chosen by writers for their creation is an epic. Recall that in this type of work describes outstanding national historical events. What is Shmelev talking about?

The writer chooses a truly memorable event, but there is nothing to be proud of. He depicts the Crimean famine of 1921-1922. "The Sun of the Dead" is a requiem for those who died in those terrible years - not only from a lack of food, but from the actions of revolutionaries. It is also important that the son of Shmelev himself, who remained in Russia, was shot in 1921, and the book was published in 1923.

"The Sun of the Dead": a summary

The action takes place in August on the coast of the Crimean Sea. All night the hero was tortured by strange dreams, and he woke up from the squabbles of neighbors. I do not want to get up, but he remembers that the feast of the Transfiguration begins.

In an abandoned house along the way, he sees a peacock, who has been living there for a long time. Once he belonged to the hero, but now the bird is a draw, like himself. Sometimes a peacock returns to him and collects grape berries. And the narrator drives him - there is not enough food, the sun was all burned out.

From the economy, the hero still has a turkey with turkeys. He keeps them as a memory of the past.

Products could be bought, but because of the Red Guards ships no longer enter the port. And they also do not let people in the warehouses of provisions. A dead silence reigns around the churchyard.

Everyone around is suffering from hunger. And those who recently went with slogans and supported the Reds in anticipation of a good life, no longer rely on anything. And above all this shines a merry hot sun ...

Baba Yaga

It's pretty hard to read The Sun of the Dead. The summary, of course, conveys a depressing atmosphere of narration, but not as much as the original.

The Crimean dachas were deserted, they shot all the professors, and the janitors kindled them. And the radio gave the order "Put the Crimea with an iron broom". And Baba-yaga took up the job, sweeps.

The doctor comes to the narrator on a visit. He was robbed of everything, even hours left. He sighs and says that now the earth is better than on earth. When the revolution broke out, the doctor and his wife were in Europe, romanticized about the future. He now compares the revolution to the experiments of Sechenov. Only the frogs were cut to the heart, the "stars" were put on their shoulders, and the nape of the neck was cut from the revolvers.

The hero looks after him and thinks that now nothing is scary. After all, now Baba-yaga in the mountains.

The neighbors slaughtered a cow in the evening, and the owner strangled the killer. The hero came to the noise, and at this time someone stabbed his chicken.

A neighbor comes to her, asks for cereals - her mother is dying. The narrator gives everything he had. A neighbor appears, tells how she exchanged a gold chain for food.

Playing with death

The actions of the epic "The Sun of the Dead" (Ivan Shmelev) continue to develop. The narrator goes early in the morning to cut a tree. Here he falls asleep, and he is awakened by Boris Shishkin, a young writer. He is not washed, torn, with a swollen face, with uncut nails.

His past was not easy: he fought in the First World War, he was taken prisoner, almost shot as a spy. But in the end they just sent me to work in the mines. Under the Soviet regime, Shishkin was able to return to his homeland, but immediately got to the Cossacks who had hardly let him go.

The news comes that six prisoners of the Soviet regime ran away. Now all are threatened with round-ups and searches.

End of September. The narrator looks at the sea and the mountains - quiet around. He recalls how he recently met three children on the road - a girl and two boys. Their father was arrested on charges of killing a cow. Then the children went in search of food. In the mountains, the oldest girl liked the Tatar boys, and they fed the children and even gave them food.

However, the narrator does not go around the road more and does not want to communicate with people. It is better to look into the eyes of animals, but they are few.

The disappearance of a peacock

The fate of those who rejoiced and welcomed the new power, says "The Sun of the Dead." Brief content, albeit not in the scope of the original, conveys the wicked irony of their lives. Earlier they went to rallies, shouted, demanded, and now they died of hunger and already their bodies are on the 5th day and they can not even wait for the funeral pit.

At the end of October the peacock disappears, and the hunger becomes more and more angry. The narrator remembers how the hungry bird came for food a few days ago. Then he tried to strangle her, but could not - the hand did not rise. And now the peacock has disappeared. A neighbor boy brought several feathers of a bird and said that the doctor must have eaten it. The narrator takes the feathers gently, like a fragile flower, and puts them on the veranda.

HE reflects that all around are the circles of hell that are gradually shrinking. Even the family of fishermen is dying of hunger. The son has died, the daughter has gathered for pass, Nikolay, the head of family, too was lost. There was only one mistress left.


The epic "The Sun of the Dead" (short content) is coming to an end. November has come. The old Tatar returns duty at night - he brought flour, pears, tobacco. The news comes that the doctor burned in his almond gardens, and his house has already been robbed.

Winter has come, rains have come. The famine continues. The sea completely stops feeding the fishermen. They come to ask for bread to representatives of the new government, but in response they are only called upon to hold out and come to rallies.

On the pass, two were killed, who exchanged wine for wheat. Grain was brought to the city, washed and eaten. The narrator thinks that everything can not be washed away.

The hero tries to remember what the month is now ... it seems, December. He goes to the seashore and looks at the cemetery. The setting sun illuminates the chapel. Like the sun smiling at the dead. In the evening, the father of the writer Shishkin comes to him and says that his son was shot "for robbery."

Spring is approaching.

"Sun of the dead": analysis

This work is called the most powerful thing Shmelev. Against the background of the dispassionate and beautiful Crimean nature, a real tragedy unfolds: hunger takes away all living things: people, animals, birds. The writer raises in the work the question of the value of life in times of great social change.

It is impossible to stay away and not to think about what is more important when reading "The Sun of the Dead". The theme of the work in the global sense is the struggle between life and death, between humanity and the animal principle. The author writes about how human souls ruin the need, and this frightens him more than hunger. Shmelev also raises such philosophical questions as the search for truth, the meaning of life, human values, etc.


More than once the author describes the transformation of a man into a beast, a murderer and a traitor in the pages of the epic "The Sun of the Dead." The main characters are also not immune from this. For example, the doctor - the narrator's friend - gradually loses all of its moral principles. And if at the beginning of the work he talks about writing a book, in the middle of the narrative he kills and eats the peacock, and at the end he begins to consume opium and perishes in a fire. There are those who became informers for bread. But such, according to the author, is even worse. They rotted from within, and their eyes are empty and lifeless.

There is not in the work of those who do not suffer from hunger. But everyone carries it in their own way. And in this test it becomes clear what a man truly stands for.

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