Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
During the formative years of his life, Vladimir Petrovitch Sanine is away from the influence of his family and their home. When he returns as a young man to his mother’s house in a provincial garrison town, he comes as a person believing only in himself, his strength, and the desirability of following his inclinations, wherever they might lead him. His mother, Maria Ivanovna, cannot understand her son. His sister Lida, however, finds him strangely attractive, even though she distrusts and fears his thinking and its influence.
Lida, having many admirers among young civilians and the junior army officers, is the belle of the little garrison town. Her two most serious admirers are Dr. Novikov, who wishes sincerely to marry her but is awkward as a suitor, and Captain Zarudin, a brutal and lascivious army officer who wishes only to make a sexual conquest and is well on his way to success with the young woman. Sanine, giving the same freedoms to others as he believes in for himself, makes no serious attempt to interfere in his sister’s affairs.
Before long Sanine is caught up in the social life among the young intelligentsia of the town. Among those in the group are Sina Karsavina and Yuri Svarozhich. The former is a pretty young schoolteacher of strong emotions who finds herself drawn strangely to Sanine, although she is very much in love with Yuri, a young student who was exiled to the provinces for his part in revolutionary activities....
(The entire section is 1020 words.)
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