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Dr. Zhivago

Boris Pasternak

Chapter 14: Again Varykino

Chapter 13: Opposite the House of Caryatids

Chapter 15: Conclusion

Summary

Komarovsky visits Lara, much to their surprise. He says that he wants to speak to Yury that evening and that they and Pasha are all in great danger. Yury wants to leave before Komarovsky comes back, but Lara throws herself at his feet and begs him to stay. He does meet Komarovsky, who tells him that he is on a list of people to be killed in the purges. He invites them to go to the Far East with him, where he can help Yury to take a boat overseas. He explains the importance of mineral-rich Mongolia, and he tells Yury that once he crosses the border he will be free.

They do not hear from Komarovsky again, and they decide to go to Varykino to hide. They stay at the Mikulitsins' old house and find toys and a toboggan to entertain Katya with. They stay for two weeks, though Lara hears wolves at night and, thinking they are soldier's dogs, is anxious to leave. Komarovsky appears again, and Lara wants to take him up on his offer this time. Yury explains that there is no question of him going, but he wants Lara to think it over. Komarovsky asks to speak to Yury alone. He tells him that Strelnikov has been captured and shot and that Lara and Katya are in great danger because of their association with him. Yury agrees to pretend that he will follow them to encourage Lara to leave with Komarovsky.

Yury decides to go to Moscow but stays behind in the house to think of Lara. He drinks long gulps of vodka and feels he is losing his mind. Samdevyatov comes for his horse and promises to return for Yury a few days later. A stranger comes, and Yury is surprised when he sees that it is Strelnikov. He explains that many of the goods at the house were requisitioned while the Red Army occupied the east. He also says that he knew of Zhivago's association with Lara, and he was understandably jealous. He warns Yury to leave Varykino immediately because Strelnikov is being pursued and Yury has implicated himself by speaking to him. He recounts his love for Lara, saying that he has been planning to return to her after his life's work ended. Yury tells him that Lara loved him more than anyone else in the world. Pasha begs him not to leave.

Yury goes to sleep and dreams of his childhood. He dreams that his mother's watercolor fell from the wall, and he wakes up thinking he heard a gunshot but then falls asleep again. In the morning, he walks outside and finds Pasha lying in the snow, having shot himself.

Commentary

Komarovsky comes to rescue Lara and Yury from probable death, but Yury resists. He wants to stay in Varykino, but his reasons are unclear. Firstly, he does not want to escape to another country, out of either loyalty to Russia or a feeling of duty. Perhaps he feels that, having lost Tonya, he must now let Lara go.

During the twenties, millions of Russians were accused of committing crimes against the new government. As former gentry and associates of Strelnikov, both Lara and Yury are at risk. Yury's family is deported, and Yury knows he is risking execution by remaining in Russia. Pasha knows that if he is captured he will be tried unjustly and executed with little chance for appeal.

Yury feels mercy toward Pasha and tells him that Lara loved him with the knowledge that neither of them is likely to see her again. He gives Pasha a sense of happiness, which appears to be all the man wants before dying, since he takes his own life soon after hearing Yury's words.

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Importance of Yuri's view of communism

by chavezgt, October 27, 2013

I believe that something very important that Pasternak wanted to express is how someone's view of communism can change when he see's it from an inside perspective. When he's still a student, and lives with Tonya he supports communism for what it represents. Nonetheless, once the bolcheviks had taken Moscow, he truly lived communism, with the scarcities, and negative aspects it has, and his opinion about it changed. Because of the political context around the work, I believe that this fact must be considered while analyzing this novel.

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