How was Vanka treated in Alyakin house?

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Vanka 's life in the Alyakhin household is utterly wretched and miserable. Alyakhin treats his young apprentice very badly indeed, subjecting him to regular beatings for all manner of petty infractions. The day before Vanka writes to his grandfather, Alyakhin yanked him by the hair and dragged him out into...

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Vanka's life in the Alyakhin household is utterly wretched and miserable. Alyakhin treats his young apprentice very badly indeed, subjecting him to regular beatings for all manner of petty infractions. The day before Vanka writes to his grandfather, Alyakhin yanked him by the hair and dragged him out into the yard, where he beat him mercilessly with a stirrup strap—and all for falling asleep while he was supposed to be rocking Alyakhin's baby to sleep in the cradle.

Alyakhin's wife is no better. She once rubbed a herring in Vanka's face because he started gutting it by the tail, which apparently is the wrong way to do it. As one can imagine, this was a deeply humiliating experience for Vanka, not least because the other apprentices made fun of him for it.

As well as regular beatings, there's almost nothing to eat. Poor Vanka has to make do with bread in the morning, porridge for dinner, and bread again in the evening. And once it's time for bed, Vanka is forced to sleep in the passageway, where he never gets a moment's peace due to the baby crying.

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