In "Autumn in the Oak Woods," how can we see the antagonistic sides of the two characters?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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"Autumn in the Oak Woods" was written by Yuri Pavlovich at a time in Soviet history when censorship has eased somewhat and writers revived the prerogative of authors to criticize their cities and cultures as well as idealize the country life that exists in opposition to industrialized cities. This time was known as the "thaw period" and extended from the 1950s to the 1970s. Yuri Pavlovich forged his own path in this period and neither fell in with the detractors of city life and culture nor with the idealizers of the antithetical country life. On the contrary, Pavlovich offers a balanced view that doesn't denigrate the city nor idealize the country, but rather offers the country life as an alternative to those who seek solace and a quieter life than what the city offers.

In light of this, Pavlovich paints both the hero and heroine with equal, balanced strokes because he represents the country and she represents the city. Pavlov uses them to show the balance he both perceives and reveals. Therefore, there are no demonstrable antagonistic qualities to either one, the hero or heroine. If there were, Pavlovich's message would be radically altered. Either they would represent superiority of country or city over the other, when his express purpose is to show balance, or they would represent opposition between equally problematic country and city, when his other purpose is to offer the country as a viable option to those who seek quietude and naturalness.

The lack of antagonistic qualities to each character is demonstrated by her willingness to understand his explanation of why he won't care about killing the fox; by his willingness to turn his back while she dressed and to agree to turn the lights out; and by her later comforting remarks that indeed everything she is seeing is good.

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