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The Cancer Ward By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Pdf 17


Cancer Ward tells the story of a small group of patients in Ward 13, the cancer ward of a hospital in Tashkent, Soviet Uzbekistan, in 1954, one year after Joseph Stalin's death. A range of characters are depicted, including those who benefited from Stalinism, resisted, or acquiesced. Like Solzhenitsyn, the main character, the Russian Oleg Kostoglotov, spent time in a labor camp as a "counter-revolutionary" before he was exiled to Central Asia under Article 58.




The Cancer Ward By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Pdf 17



Toward the end of the novel, Kostoglotov realizes the damage is too great, there will be no healing after Stalin. As with cancer, there may be periods of remission, but no escape.[7] On the day of his release from the hospital, he visits a zoo, seeing in the animals people he knew: "[D]eprived of their home surroundings, they lost the idea of rational freedom. It would only make things harder for them, suddenly to set them free."[8]


The story begins with Pavel, a member of the Soviet secret service, being admitted into the cancer ward, and his evaluation of each patient. The story of each patient is outlined, and their thoughts about their predicament and disease.


The doctors and nurses and orderlies of the cancer ward are also described, along with their motivations for working within the Soviet medical system. It soon becomes clear that this medical team is a mix of inept political appointees and dedicated physicians. The dedicated doctors must deal with Soviet rules and regulations, inadequate staff, antiquated equipment and the lack of updated scientific information.


The patients in the ward come and go, with some being discharged, some moving to surgery, and some dying. The men keep up a continuing conversation about life, their reading material, the government, and about the cancer itself.


This novel was originally published in Russian as a samizdat (underground publication), and was then formally banned. Alexander Solzhenitsyn uses the cancer ward as a metaphor for the irreparable damage caused by Stalin's Great Purge.


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