God Sees the Truth, But Waits

by Leo Tolstoy

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In "God Sees the Truth, But Waits," Aksionov is unfairly punished for a crime that he didn't commit. How does Aksionov respond to the unfair hand that he has been dealt?

In "God Sees the Truth, But Waits" by Leo Tolstoy, the innocent merchant Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov is unfairly punished by being imprisoned and sent to Siberia for supposedly killing a fellow merchant. He responds to the unfair hand he has been dealt by putting his faith in God. He reads religious books, goes to church on Sundays, and becomes known to authorities and prisoners alike as someone who is devout, honest, and trustworthy.

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In the short story "God Sees the Truth, But Waits" by Leo Tolstoy, a merchant named Aksionov sets off for a fair to sell his goods despite his wife's premonitions of disaster. On the way, he is unjustly accused of murdering a fellow merchant and is first put in prison and then sent to Siberia. Aksionov responds to the unfair punishment with honor, humility, a stoic attitude, and faith in God.

After Aksionov says "goodbye to his family for the last time," he realizes that only God knows the real truth of the situation. For this reason, he can only appeal to and expect mercy from God. From this point:

Aksionov wrote no more petitions, gave up all hope, and prayed only to God.

During the twenty-six years he lives in Siberia as a convict, he seldom speaks, never laughs, but often prays. He obtains a book called The Lives of the Saints and reads from it. He attends church on Sundays and sings in the choir. The prison authorities and prisoners respect him for his honesty and integrity.

Aksionov's real test comes when the merchant's real killer arrives at the Siberian prison. When he finds out who the man is, he becomes wretched and wants to kill himself, and then he becomes enraged and wants vengeance. However, when he catches the man digging an escape tunnel, he has mercy and does not turn the man in. Aksionov's piety causes the man to beg forgiveness and eventually to confess to the authorities that he was the real killer.

We see, then, that Aksionov responds well to the unfair burden of guilt that he has carried for much of his life.

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