In 1909, M. Gorky writes: “I do not know the image more luminous than the mother, and the heart is more capacious for love than the heart of the mother.” These words could be used as an epigraph for the whole work. Choosing Nilovna, and not Pavel Vlasov as the central character, Gorky seeks to emphasize the worldwide scale of the changes that occur, in his opinion, among the working class.
The writer points to a real prototype of his heroine: “Nilovna is a portrait of the mother of Peter Zalomov, convicted in 1902 for demonstrating May 1. She worked in the organization, carried literature, dressed as a wanderer, in the Ivanovo-Voznesensky district.” She is no exception. ” The fact that the existence of a man like Nilovna is prompted by reality is very important. The path of Nilovna is the way of the common man to the revolution.
The author’s attitude towards Nilovna is obvious. It is no accident that it is her decisive role in the development
of the plot of the work. She participates in all events occurring in the book, the description is often given from her face. Nilovna does not appear immediately. Not immediately given and her portrait. It is characteristic that the keynote that accompanies her appearance in the novel is fear. At first it is the fear of a downtrodden person. Later – the fear that people will not understand the truth, the ideas of Paul. Fear persecutes the mother throughout the book, but gradually shifts to a different feeling – in pride for his son. And at the end of the work – this is the fear that she will not be worthy of Paul, and fear for people who are doing one thing with her son’s business. Nilovna does not leave her son, she is always near, and what can be more beautiful in life! Not surprising,
The image of the mother in the work is related to the resurrection of the human soul, the theme of the second birth of man. Bitter does not simplify this resurrection. The process of Nilovna’s rebirth is generally complicated. Firstly, she is forty years old, and for that time it was already the
age at which the “baby century” was over. At the beginning of the book Gorky generally claims that “after living this kind of life for 50 years, a person died.” Nilovna is a developed personality. In addition, she is a religious woman. In the mother’s faith, the writer sees a certain system of views on the world that helps her survive. Therefore, Nilovna is so afraid of destroying her faith in God. It is not by chance that she asks Pavel and Rybin: “Oh, leave me God, how can I live without him?”
If at the beginning of the work Nilovna believes deeply and passionately, then as the action develops, her faith fades into the background, she even notes that she began to pray less. Thus, the process of mother’s rebirth is associated with a change in her worldview.
And finally, Nilovna is just a woman, and traditional for her time and environment of the idea of the appointment of a woman was limited to the family and children. And this, too, to some extent complicates its inclusion in the active activities. Therefore, the whole book becomes the history of the soul’s rebirth, the liberation of the individual from fear.
Having put in the center of the narrative an impotent, downtrodden creature, who saw nothing in his life, apart from beatings and rudeness, Gorky showed how in the process of gradual rebirth the meaning of the word “mother” expands. At first Nilovna is the source of Paul’s life, her love is a selfish love for her son. Later Nilovna begins to feel herself the mother of Nakhodka, Natasha. At the end of the book she is the mother of all children: “A warm shadow affectionately surrounded the woman, warming her heart with a feeling of love for unknown people, and they formed in her imagination all into one huge person.” Of particular importance is the following phrase: “We are all children of the same mother-truth.” The mother does not understand much, but she feels the truth, because it was inherent in her from the very beginning.
For Gorky, the moment of searching for true faith is extremely important. Throughout the book, the mother is looking. The word “God” constantly appears in the text. Raised in the Orthodox canons, Nilovna sees in God the only force capable of restoring justice, if not on this, then in the next world. The fact that next to her live people who are striving to create justice on earth, makes a strong impression on Nilovna. And so she says: “She is unhappy, our woman’s love.” We love what we need, other people suffer for the people, go to prison, and die to Siberia, who pushes them, who drives them, they love, here they are, they love and believe, they believe, Andryusha, and I do not know how, but I love my own, my close one. ” What does Andrei Nakhodka answer to her? “Everyone loves something close, but in a big heart and a distant one, you can do many things. The love of a mother who gives life and protects this life, in Nakhodka’s opinion, is natural love, like the one that gives birth to a new society. The resurrection of Nilovna is a belief in Andrei, who dreams: “I know there will be a time when people will admire each other, when everyone will be like a star in front of another!” Free and great people will walk on the earth, then there will not be life, but service to man, his image will be exalted high. “
The meaning of the title of the work lies in the symbolism of the image of the mother-creator, the mother, who gives birth to “the future in her children.” M. Gorky summarizes those ideas about the mother that appeared in his early works, where he says: “Let us glorify the mother woman, the inexhaustible source of the all-conquering life, glorify the woman mother in the world – a single force before which death tends” (“Fairy tales about Italy “).
An extremely important moment of the work is Nilovna’s dream, in which the main theme of the mother’s life sounds: “Do not leave your children alone!” This dream becomes a turning point in the life of the heroine. She is completely freed from the old faith. And we do not doubt – Nilovna will help her children to survive, give them the necessary strength, will support them at the most difficult moment.