The Seven Days of Creation Characters

Lev Samsonov

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Pyotr Vasilievich Lashkov

Pyotr Vasilievich Lashkov (pyohtr vah-SIH-leh-vihch LASH-kov), an elderly Communist Party functionary who becomes a Christian. In the winter of his life, Pyotr, a self-righteous autocrat and a faithful Communist, realizes that he is isolated from his relatives and from other people, without any meaningful relationship, and facing bleak emptiness. Deciding to renew his neglected family ties, after all of his six children have abandoned him, he visits one close relative after another, only to discover that most of them have not fared much better. His daughter Antonina fills the void in Pyotr’s later life with her religious zeal and with renewed faith in the future, symbolized by her newborn son. Pyotr belatedly realizes that being an honest but stern Communist, without a genuine rapport with fellow human beings, leads to alienation and general resentment by others. With the help of several people (Antonina, Gupak, and his two grandsons), he enriches his empty existence through love and caring for other people. He is finally able to reconcile his Communist beliefs with an active and loving religion. The final words of the novel symbolize his spiritual rebirth: “He went, and he knew. He knew, and he believed.”

Andrei Lashkov

Andrei Lashkov, his brother, a warden in the Kurakin forest. Although driven by the same urge as all the Lash-kovs—to bring honor and justice into life and to do what is best for everybody—Andrei chooses a different path. Instead of wielding political power, he opts for forest service, for only in closeness to...

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The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Having been exposed to the harshness of orphanages and reform schools, and later to the confinement of mental hospitals, Vladimir Maximov sensitively sketches his characters, all of whom feel estranged from themselves and from society. They attempt to counteract their deplorable situation with a yearning for relationships and with loving concern for others. An Orthodox Christian, Maximov believes religion is the hope for these disillusioned Russians. His background as an itinerant bricklayer informs the peripatetic life-style of his characters. At the same time, his career as a poet and playwright allows him to create articulate characters who express a vivid love of nature. Pyotor, the protagonist, becomes increasingly sensitive to the wonders of creation as he seeks to renew ties with estranged relatives. At the end of the novel, when Pyotor carries his infant grandson toward the horizon of a dawning spring day, Maximov describes his response to the glorious occasion: “He went, and he knew. He knew, and he believed.”

Pyotor’s ability to satisfy his yearnings and his desire to begin again eventually convert the elderly Communist to Christianity. Gupak, a recurring character, expounds traditional religious values to Pyotor, as well. Gupak charitably befriends Antonina and in his relationships with others demonstrates principles which form the basis of religion.

Vadim’s life experience parallels Maximov’s youthful rebellion and travel throughout Russia. Both see distress in the eyes of their compatriots and empathize with their fear of alienation from society. Like Maximov, Vadim expresses skill with words and shrewdness in establishing an identity in the minds of others.

Women play a forceful role in this novel. Among them, Alexandra, Andrei’s wife, exhibits feminist qualities. Although sarcastic, she works hard, gaining the respect of the men on the cattle drive. She wins Pyotor’s admiration when, in later years, he attends her marriage to Andrei. Pyotor appreciates her attempt at “wresting her share of belated happiness from fate at long last.” Antonina offers greater depth of characterization. Initially she appears as a middle-aged drunk who lacks purpose; after converting to Christianity and suffering in a work camp, she returns home bearing the gift of rebirth: her infant son.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Brown, Deming. Soviet Russian Literature Since Stalin, 1978.

Gray, Paul. Review in Time. CV (February 3, 1975), p. 68.

Moore, Harry T., and Albert Parry. Twentieth-century Russian Literature, 1974.

Rubenstein, Joshua. Review in The New York Times Book Review. LXXX (February 23, 1975), p. 10.