Did Boris Pasternak accomplish his goals in Doctor Zhivago?Did Boris Pasternak accomplish his goals in Doctor Zhivago?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pasternak was convinced that the ideals to which the Russian Revolution professed to follow had become twisted under Stalin rule.  The fact that he recognized the pressure on artists and writers to continuously produce pro- Soviet literature stood in dire opposition to his commitment to artistic freedom.  In this respect, Pasternak is much like his protagonist, Yuri, an artist whose only real passion was the belief in freedom in all of its intricate beauty.  It is here where Pasternak wanted to create something that would be a testament to his passion for artistic freedom, a real life version of Yuri.  The fact that he smuggled the book out of Russia and had it published, evoking worldwide praise and bringing attention to the plight of artists in the Soviet Union became a legacy of the book.  In this, I think that Pasternak did accomplish his goals of the book.  I don't think that it is possible to not see it as a condemnation of the political landscape that enveloped the Soviet Union after the Revolution.  It also brings significant questioning to how the goals of the Revolution were perverted for personal gain under the guise of "community" and the appeal to communitarian goals.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago is a love story with two bitter-sweet romances and a tragic ending. It is also a love story from Pasternak to his country; it is a metaphorical lover's protest against how his country has betrayed him. He of course is representative of the Russian-Soviet people and of the silenced artists within Soviet Russia. It is a protest against how an ideal, an economic theory, can be turned into a social nightmare. In this light, it is fair to say that Pasternak did indeed accomplish his goals in Doctor Zhivago. [When I first read Doctor Zhivago, I borrowed it from the County Library and could not bear to part with it and so racked up a few months worth of fines before I could be convinced to let go of it!]

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously any response to this question is going to depend on how the person answering it responded to the book and whether they liked it or not. I have to say I thought this was an amazing book which gives us an incredible insight into Russia and the situation facing its people. As #3 points out, it is possible to view this book as metaphorically representing the struggles that Russian citizens, and in particular, writers and poets faced and the various ways in which Communist Russia betrayed such individuals. It is an incredible book.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a poignancy to Pasternak's tale of Russian political and spiritual struggles that settles upon the reader long after he/she closes the tome.  In this, then, Pasternak has achieved his goals as he has opened the reader to the heart of the Russian, a complex, sensitive, yet tragic being floundering in the modern world in which none have been readied.

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Doctor Zhivago

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