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Dr. Zhivago

Further Study

Study Questions

Further Study Study Questions

1. What are the differences between the relationship of Yury and Tonya and that of Yury and Lara?

Yury has known Tonya since his youth and he feels affection toward her and her entire family. He meets her before World War I, during a time of relative innocence and happiness in his life. He encounters Lara under vastly different circumstances, and to Yury she represents an innocence now lost, especially since he has seen her in two bizarre situations previously.

2. In the novel, many different characters encounter each other in what seem like coincidental occurrences. Does fate play a role in the story? How?

There are many coincidental encounters between the various characters. At the very beginning of the book, Misha sees Yury's father on a train. Yury encounters Lara under numerous odd circumstances, almost as though they are fated to meet one another. While it is not clear that fate controls the action of the novel, there is a sense that the characters' lives are inextricably connected.

3. Trace the development of the relationship between Lara and Komarovsky.

Lara sees herself as Komarovsky's prisoner, and he has control over both her early and later life. He has power over her because he is substantially older and wealthier, and she finds herself dependent on him when she is most vulnerable. She tries to liberate herself from him, but she repeatedly discovers that she cannot escape his control, although her relationship with Yury gives her the strength to refuse his offer to take her to the east. When Yury tricks her, however, she is under Komarovsky's control again.

4. Is Tonya correct in saying that Yury does not love her? Why or why not?

Tonya knows of Yury's relationship with Lara, but she does not resent him for it. Rather, she is saddened by the knowledge that they cannot have an equal relationship. Yury does love Tonya, but not in the way he loves Lara. While his love for Tonya is not defined by passion, he nonetheless feels a strong, affectionate loyalty toward her.

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