Can you please tell me the reason why the two main characters are unnamed in "Autumn in the Oak Woods"?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By leaving the two main characters unnamed in "Autumn in the Oak Woods," author Yuri Pavlovich Kazakov frees himself to make a philosophical point and a psychological point while using characters that are symbolic of concepts that are greater than individuals. When Peter the Great opened Russia up to Western European influences and decided that rather than standing alone, Russia was really an extension of Western Europe, he created a dichotomy between the traditional Russia of long-bearded men, fur hats, Eastern Orthodoxy (instead of Roman Catholicism and it's schismed variations), with a non-Arabic alphabet and the emerging new Russia in which men cut off and shaved their beards; in which Western literature, philosophy and science were introduced, Western art was discovered, and Russian style clothing was modified by Western styles.

These changes led to a unprecedented uncertainty about the nature of what was called the Russian soul (psychological, spiritual, and moral essence). When literature began to develop in Russia from its Old Russian literature roots following the reforms made by Peter the Great, and continued by Catherine the Great, a popular theme therefore emerged related to the quest for the identity of the Russian soul, that which was psychologically, spiritually, morally, and exclusively Russian and that could not be modified by the shaving of a traditional beard or the change in clothing styles. Kazakov's two unnamed characters symbolize a 20th century Soviet expression of the end destination in a renewed quest for the Russian soul.