Elena (Lena) Borissovna Zhuravliov
Elena (Lena) Borissovna Zhuravliov (boh-rih-SOHV-nah zhew-rahv-LYOV), a Soviet schoolteacher. Attractive, intelligent, and cultured, she is a thirty-year-old wife and mother who has become dissatisfied with her life. She finds purpose in her career as a teacher but no emotional satisfaction in her relationship with her husband. She unwittingly falls in love with her husband’s coworker, Dmitri Koroteyev, who is also cultured and sensitive. When she realizes the seriousness of her affection, she leaves her husband. Mistakenly believing that her love is unrequited, she lives solitarily until a chance encounter brings her and Dmitri together.
Ivan Zhuravliov, a factory manager, several years older than Lena. He has grown stout and sedate with marriage. Committed to increasing production, he puts machines ahead of workers and his job before his family. Soon after Lena leaves him, a storm destroys shoddily built housing that he constructed for employees. Well-meaning but bewildered by private as well as public humiliation, he loses both his family and his career.
Dmitri Koroteyev (DMIH-tree koh-roh-TEH-yehv), an engineer in Zhuravliov’s factory. Thirty-five years old and regarded as a model worker, he is...
(The entire section is 499 words.)