We the Living Themes

We the Living Themes

Oppression and the loss of self

Before the Revolution the Russian people were able to exhibit their own personality and characteristics. Some were hard working, some were not. Some had big dreams and goals, others were content with their spot. Kira herself was a free spirit; Andrei, and idealist and romantic; Leo passionate and possessed of a firm belief in the power of the individual to shape his own future.

The novel illustrates graphically that under communism gradually the individual is worn down until misery and hardship have made cookie-cutter personalities out of individuals and everyone is desperate and beaten; high spirits become indifference, dreams turn into depression. The ongoing theme is the power of oppression to take away the individual self and make everyone the sum of their downtrodden existence. Oppression takes away the power of dreams and the novel returns to this theme throughout.

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