Essay, Research Paper
The Time is Night is a short novel by Liudmila Petrushevskaya. It is one of the few stories that I enjoy reading over and over again. The reason is that each time I re-read it, I perceive it in a slightly different way. The complicity of characters and the style of the novel is what I would like to emphasize most about the novel, as well as the fact that The Time is Night represents an outstanding social awareness of the author.
As an introduction, Liudmila Petrushevskaya writes that what readers are about to see is a diary that was sent to her by the daughter of the author of the diary after her mother s death. The notes that make up the diary are those of a woman, a poet, describing her living during the late 1980 s, her children and her 4-year-old grandson Tima whom she calls Baby.
The woman s name is Anna. It is very symbolic to her; when people ask her what her name is, she replies,
“I am nearly a namesake of a famous poet. Guess, my name is Anna Andianovna.” The poet she is a “namesake” of is Anna Andreevna Akhmatova, one of the most symbolic poets of the silver century of the Russian poetry. Anna carries this cross through her entire life. There are only two roles she has: a poet and a woman defending a child from misery and starvation. I assume she is not a really good poet, she never gets published and gets very little money but that is not the point. She says that she writes for herself, if she stops, she will die. This is very true. The two main themes of the novel seem to be loneliness and misery.
Several times in the diary Anna says that she writes it for her daughter, the one who later sent the notes to Petrushevskaya. But it seems to me that what she has written represents the dialogues that remained unpronounced, because no one ever wished to listen to her or was able to understand her. This person was very lonely, though in her diary she mentioned very many people. Most of them were as miserable as she was. They did not play any role in her life, they just defined the atmosphere around her. It was the atmosphere of the last years of the Soviet Union. Everybody s lives were gray and stagnant. Anna was a smart woman, she needed to express herself which was totally impossible. All she had to do was trying to make ends meet. This routine certainly made her personality duller. She realized that and the only thing that made her move forward was her sense of humor that never let her down.
All the people she met on her way came and went leaving Anna alone with her beloved Baby and sorrows. Baby was too small to understand her, he was childishly selfish and cruel but he was the only person who still needed her. There was no one she loved more than him, she lived for him. She wanted to share her thoughts with him and the only way for her was to write it, “My little sun! I have always been alone everywhere with you and I always will. A woman is weak and indecisive as far as she s concerned personally, but she is a beast when she has to defend her child. Are there forces that can stop a woman who is trying to get food for her child, are there such forces?”
The style of the novel can be defined as a flow of consciousness. It sounds so natural that when I read it, I feel like it s me thinking. This effect is achieved by making a chain of sentences, that are sometimes not complete, just like thoughts. Moreover, they are not divided by periods, just commas. That is why the whole sentence can easily be over half a page long.
This novel is a mirror of life. As I read it, I feel myself a part of the action. I believe that the characters are real people. At least, I am sure there are people just like those characters. Anna says that the most important thing in life is Love. It is something that guides her through all the difficulties. I think that this was the author s message to the readers. Life is hard, and even if one is trying to be his or her best, it does not mean that it will be appreciated. The last line of the diary makes the readers think deeply,
“Everybody left me, everybody, please, forgive me my tears.”