Student Question

Why does The Party in "Darkness at Noon" place so much emphasis on history?

Expert Answers

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Darkness at Noon takes place during the 1930s, when Josef Stalin ran the Soviet Union and was conducting a series of bloody purges of his party and his military.  The bulk of the dialogue in the story is between Rubashov and his jailers, who interrogate him daily.  The use of history in the conversations and the novel is because both Rubashov and his communist interrogators are using historical examples to justify their positions.  Communists used it to explain the history of class struggle, of revolution, of historical and social justice (from their perspective), and Rubashov, who also knows his history well, debates them continually and effectively on each point, even though it doesn't help him in the end.

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