In Doctor Zhivago, explain why after arriving in Moscow, Yurii does not try to get back to his family nor seek to find Lara.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At this point in the novel, Yurii is only a shell of his former self.  Whereas there was a point where Yurii lived for beauty and the love of what was in the world, Yuri's arrival in Moscow has become the result of ruptured bonds, misplaced loyalties, as well as governmental hypocrisy. At his arrival in Moscow, this hypocrisy is at its most unprecedented level, as power is not being exercised for the benefit of the many.  It is being used to benefit the few.  Yurii is reflective of how the body politic's loyalty is being tried and weakened:

It is 1922, and Yurii returns to the city a broken man...Vasia watches as Yurii turns more and more inward, away from life and passion. After settling in, Yurii is further disappointed by his former friends, who are, in Yurii’s eyes, mere shadows of the people they once were.

At this point in the novel, Yurii has lost all energy to find totality and harmony in consciousness.  Hope is lost with the purges and abuses of central power, causing him to lose hope as a citizen and person.  While writing used to be a communal product for him, the ending reflects him to be one that can only write for himself, seeking to remain only with himself and not form any bonds with anyone else:

By the end of the story, Yurii has withdrawn from society, from the two women who matter most to him, and from his children and his friends. He has withdrawn from society and into his writing. In the end, he lives in a small room where he sorts through and records his thoughts. He dies on a public sidewalk away from everyone he has ever known.

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Doctor Zhivago

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