“Matrenin yard” Solzhenitsyn – a story about the tragic fate of an open, not similar to his fellow villagers Matryona. Published for the first time in the journal “New World” in 1963.
The story is from the first person. The protagonist becomes Matryona’s lodger and talks about her amazing fate. The first title of the story “Not worth a village without a righteous one” well conveyed the idea of the work about a pure, disinterested soul, but was replaced in order to avoid problems with censorship.
Read the summary of “Matrenin yard” by chapters is especially relevant for pupils of grade 9, in which the work is studied.
The narrator is a middle-aged man who has served rows in prison
Matryona is a lonely woman of about sixty. Lives alone in his hut, often sick.
Thaddeus is a former beloved of Matryona, a tenacious, greedy old man.
Matryona sisters – women who seek their own benefits in everything, Matryona are consumer.
A hundred and eighty-four kilometers from Moscow, on the way to Kazan and Murom, the passengers of the train were always surprised by the serious slowdown. People rushed to the windows and talked about the possible repair of roads. Passing this site, the train again dialed the previous move. And the reason for the slowdown was known only to the machinists and the author.
In 1956, in the summer, the author returned from the “blazing desert at random just to Russia.” His return “dragged on for ten years,” and he did not have anywhere to rush to anyone. The narrator wanted to go somewhere in the Russian remote place with forests and fields.
He dreamed of “teaching” away from the city bustle, and he was sent to a town with the poetic name of High Field. There the author did not like it, and he asked for redirection to a place with a terrible name
Here, in the small village of Talnevo, the author met a woman at the market who helped him find a house. So he became a lodger at Matryona – “a lonely woman of about sixty.”
In addition to the hostess, mice, cockroaches and a compassionate lame cat lived in the hut.
Every morning the hostess woke up at 5 am, afraid to oversleep, because she did not trust her watch, which was already 27 years old. She fed her “dirty white curved goat” and cooked a simple breakfast for the guest.
Once Matryona learned from rural women that “a new pension law has been issued.” And Matryona tried to get a pension, but it was very difficult to get her, the various offices to which the woman was sent were tens of kilometers apart, and the day had to be spent, because of one signature.
People in the village lived poorly, despite the fact that peat bogs spread hundreds of kilometers around Talnovo for hundreds of kilometers, peat from them “belonged to the trust.” Rural women had to drag sacks of peat to themselves for the winter, hiding from the raids of protection. The land here was sandy, the yields were poor.
People in the village often called Matryona on their garden, and she, leaving her business, went to help them. Talnian women, almost in line, lined up to take Matrena to her garden, because she worked in pleasure, rejoicing at a good foreign crop.
Once in a month and a half the hostess had a queue to feed the shepherds. This dinner “drove Matryona into a large expense,” because I had to buy her sugar, canned food, butter. The grandmother herself did not allow herself such luxury even on holidays, living only by giving her a miserable garden.
Matryona once told about the horse Volchka, who was frightened and “carried a sleigh into the lake.” “The peasants pooted, but she seized the bridle, stopped.” In this case, despite seeming fearlessness, the hostess was afraid of a fire and, until her knees trembled, trains.
By the winter Matryona still counted a pension. Neighbors began to envy her. And my grandmother finally ordered new boots for herself, a coat with an old greatcoat, and hid two hundred rubles for the funeral.
Once, on her Epiphany evenings, three of her younger sisters came to Matryona. The author was surprised, because he had not seen them before. I thought maybe they were afraid that Matryona would ask for help, so they did not come.
With the receipt of the pension, my grandmother seemed to come to life, and her work was easier, and the illness worried less often. Only one event overshadowed the mood of the grandmother: at the Baptism in the church, someone took her bowler hat with holy water, and she remained without water and without a bowler.
Talnovskie women asked Matryona about her guest. And she passed questions to him. The author told the landlady, only that he was in prison. He himself did not ask about the past of the old woman, did not think that there is something interesting there. I only knew that she married and came to this hut mistress. She had six children, but all of them died. Later she had a pupil of Cyrus. And Matryona’s husband did not return from the war.
Once arriving home, the narrator saw an old man – Thaddeus Mironovich. He came to ask for his son – Antoshka Grigoriev. The author recalls that for this insanely lazy and impudent boy, who was transferred from class to class only in order not to spoil the statistics of progress, sometimes Matryona herself asked for some reason. After the petitioner left, the narrator learned from the hostess that this was the brother of her missing husband. The same evening she told me that she had to marry him. As a nineteen-year-old girl, Matryona loved Thaddeus. But he was taken to the war, where he was missing. Three years later Thaddeus’s mother died, the house was left without a mistress and Thaddeus’ younger brother, Efim, came to the girl to bid for the girl. No longer hoping to see her beloved, Matryona married in the hot summer and went home to the house, and in the winter “from the Hungarian captivity” Thaddeus returned. Matrena rushed at his feet, and he said that “if it had not been my brother, I would have killed both of you.”
In his wife he later took “another Matryona” – a girl from a neighboring village, which he chose to marry only because of the name.
The author remembered how she came to the hostess and often complained, then her husband beats and offends. She gave birth to Thaddeus with six children. And Matryona’s children were born and died almost immediately. It’s all “spoiling,” she thought.
Soon the war began, and Yefim was taken from where he had not returned. The lonely Matryona took the little Cyrus from the “Second Matryona” and brought her up for 10 years, until the girl married a machinist and left. As Matryona was very ill, she took care of her will early, in which she awarded her a part of her hut to the pupil-a wooden upper room, an outhouse.
Kira came to visit and told that in the worms, to get the land young, it is necessary to build some kind of building. For this purpose, the upper room of Matrenina, which was bequeathed, was very suitable. Thaddeus often came and persuaded a woman to give her away now, during her lifetime. Matryona did not regret the room, but it was terrible to break the roof of the house. And so, on a cold February day Thaddeus came with his sons and began to separate the room, which he had once built with his father.
For two weeks there was a room near the house, because the snowstorm had replaced all the roads. And Matryona was not herself, and besides, three of her sisters came and cursed, for allowing me to give up the room. In the same days, “the cat lame wandered from the yard and disappeared”, which greatly upset the hostess.
One day, returning from work, the narrator saw how old Thaddeus drove a tractor and loaded two dismantled parlor into two self-made sledges. After they drank the moonshine and in the dark they drove the izba in Červusti. Matryona went to accompany them, but she never returned. At one o’clock in the morning the author heard voices in the village. It turned out that the sleigh second, which from the greed of Thaddeus had attached to the first, got stuck on flights, crumbled. At that time a locomotive was coming, from behind the hill it was not visible, because of the motor of the tractor is not audible. He flew on a sleigh, one of the machinists died, the son of Thaddeus and Matryona. In the middle of the night a friend of Matryona Masha came and told about it, she was grieving, and then she told the author that Matryona bequeathed her “crochet” to her, and she wants to take her in memory of her friend.
In the morning Matryona was going to be buried. The narrator describes how the sisters came to say goodbye to her, crying “to show” and blaming her death for Thaddeus and his family. Only Cyrus grieved sincerely for the deceased foster mother, yes “Second Matryona,” Faddey’s wife. The old man himself was not at the funeral feast. When they transported the ill-fated room, the first sleighs with boards and lats remained standing at the crossing. And, at a time when one of his sons was dead, his son-in-law was under investigation, and the daughter of Cyrus nearly lost his mind with grief, he only worried about how to bring the sleigh home, and begged all friends to help him.
After the funeral of Matryona, her hut was “beaten to the spring”, and the author relocated to “one of her gills”. The woman often thought of Matryona, but all with condemnation. And in these memories a completely new image of a woman arose, which was so strikingly different about people around. Matryona lived with an open heart, always helped others, no one refused help, although her health was weak.
Solzhenitsyn concludes his work with the words: “All of us lived next to her, and did not understand that she is the righteous person without whom, according to the proverb, there is no village, no city, no whole our land.”
The work of Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells about the fate of a sincere Russian woman, who “had less sins than a lame cat.” The image of the main character is an image of that same righteous person, without which there is no village. Matryona devotes her whole life to others, she does not have a single bit of malice or falsehood. Others use her kindness, and do not realize how holy and pure soul this woman has.
Since a short retelling of “Matrenin Dvor” does not convey the original author’s speech and the atmosphere of the story, it is worth reading it completely.