Themes and Meanings

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Houses serve as an important motif in The Seven Days of Creation, signifying the human creative instinct. The novel opens and closes at Pyotor’s house. Initially, the house signifies Pyotor’s isolating of himself from society. At the conclusion, however, he redecorates the home in anticipation of Antonina’s return with her son. This creative urge reflects his openness to the world and his refusal to remain confined by selfish concerns. Throughout the novel, homes and home substitutes offer evidence of the characters’ well-being and security. The residents in Vasilii’s building develop into an extended family. The same rapport develops among the residents of Vadim’s hospital ward.

Transportation and vehicles play a prominent role in the novel. The city of Uzlovsk grew as families settled around a railroad station “halfway from Moscow to nowhere.” For those characters who lack love and concern for others, the journey remains one to nowhere. The success of a character’s effort to rejoin the stream of humanity depends upon the character’s traveling beyond an insulated sphere, by train, taxi, or ferry.

Using a journey motif, Maximov delineates Pyotor’s transformation from Communist to Christian. The Russian travels from his home in Uzlovsk to visit his brothers, about whom he has seldom concerned himself. Each trip evokes dreams or recollections of the past, ultimately fostering Pyotor’s love of family members and respect for himself. After much self-searching and more self-recrimination, Pyotor discovers that love of the created world and its inhabitants revives his love of, faith in, and charity for humankind. Pyotor changes from a disgruntled, lonely old man who bemoans the beginning of each dull day into a proud grandfather walking expectantly toward the morning horizon with enduring faith and newly found hope for the future of his infant grandson and his country. The final chapter consists of a title only: “AND THE SEVENTH DAY DAWNED—THE DAY OF HOPE AND RESURRECTION....” Thus, the journey ends with a new beginning.