"Dumb artist" N.S. Leskova: two sides of the Russian character Automatic translate
Once Leskov was called the most Russian writer of all Russian writers, a man who knows the soul of an ordinary people. Indeed, each work of the author is imbued with love for the Motherland and the Russian people. Leskov knows what the people live: he is having fun and suffering with him, having fun and crying. He himself is part of the people.
The story “Dumb artist” is one of the few works in which it was possible to faithfully and artistically reflect the events of the period of serfdom.
The story described in the nineteen chapters of the work is typical of that period, but this is no less dramatic. The main characters of the story, Love and Arkady, reflect the features of a national Russian character. They are young, ready for true love. They are both talented, hardworking and have artistic abilities. Both of them are serfs: she is an actress of the serf theater, he is a hairdresser and make-up artist of this theater.
Leskov calls Arkady an artist. And for good reason. He feels the beauty and can bring it to the person to perfection. He makes up actresses turning them into unique goddesses. And by necessity, with the help of his skill, draws nobility on the faces of the owners.
Arkady’s love for Lyuba is filled with a special bright poetic feeling. He admires her. Later, upon learning that the young girl could not avoid shame, she does not blame her for anything and pity her lover. When it is time for Lyuba to join the ranks of the concubines, Arkady commits a terrible crime by the legal norms of that time: he steals a girl and takes him away from the estate. But he thereby steals property: Luba, by law, as if a thing, belongs to the owner and only he has the right to decide what to do with it.
Leskov knows Russian national traits very well. Arkady - his true reflection, he is a collective image of a Russian peasant who is in slavery. Arkady is straightforward, swift, decisive, brave. At the same time, deciding on a desperate act, he relies on Russian maybe, does not think through his actions. As a result, lovers are found and returned to the estate. Arkady is subjected to terrible torture and sent to service. The young man proudly endures all the hardships, regains freedom on the battlefield, receives the rank of officer and money. He lives in the name of love and dreams of returning to the estate and redeeming his beloved from the owner. Happiness seems to be at hand. But here Arkady kills the janitor with the goal of quick and easy profit. Such a fate, according to Leskov, is also not new to the Russian person. The author believes that few ordinary Russian men live to old age and die in their beds.
Love embodies other features. They were characteristic of most Russian women who were in slavery. She looks like angels from Russian icons. Love is measured with its fate, it is meek and does not resist the circumstances. Because of the escape, Love turns from an actress into a cowgirl. Love also reflects the negative qualities generated by centuries-old slavery: inability and unwillingness to resist circumstances. That is why, even after the abolition of serfdom, many peasants remained with the owners: they simply did not know where to go and how to live at large independently.
But the maximum dramatic effect on the work is not the history of slavery, but the paintings of betrayal and murder committed by the same slaves, by ordinary people from the people. First, the heroes are betrayed by the priest, to whom they have given their decision, and then Arkady perishes at the hands of the guest housekeeper. The dark side of life is both in the noble and in the folk environment.
The narrative of the work is a story of Love for a child many years later. It is not without reason that it is directed to the baby. Leskov’s goal is to protect the future generation of Russians from the negative legacy of serfdom, to destroy the black side of the Russian mentality, and also to glorify such as Arkady and his beloved, to sing the best features of the Russian people: ingenuity, talent, courage and perseverance, loyalty and devotion, readiness for true love
Ivan Sergeevich Tseregorodtsev
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