V. Astafiev – the story “Lyudochka.” In this story, the author presents us with the tragic story of a village girl. The story is preceded by an epigraph and an introduction. The epigraph is verse, in the introduction we read Pushkin’s lines: “What’s in a name you mine?”. The introduction is filled with author’s questions: “Why do I remember this, why does this story, quietly and separately from everything, live in me and burn my heart?”. And the writer immediately gives the answer: “Maybe it’s all about her depressing routine, in her disarming simplicity?”.
And then he unfolds before the reader this simple story about a village girl, seemingly not standing out against the background of others, ordinary,
A story about the life of the heroine in this village is preceded by Astafiev’s description of the city park. And everywhere here we see desolation, ruin, mockery of man over nature. In the park, a ditch has been excavated, along which a hot burda flows – mud and fuel oil. Around “durnoleys” and “durnotravie”: grow up kryvostvolnye bird cherry, elder, volchatnik. The place is completely littered with man: everywhere there are bottles, garbage, broken benches. With this terrible picture, the slogans hanging in this place are contrasted: “Leninism lives and wins!”, “Glory to the Soviet people, to the victorious people!”. So the writer, using the reception of contrast, speaks about the huge distance between the plans of the state and real life. And in the village of Vychugan, and in the village – everywhere devastation, drunkenness, poverty, moral degradation of society. With great irony, even sarcasm the writer notices that under these slogans in the park the local people drank, played cards, fought and were cut to death, “imam girls”. Here is how Astafyev describes the dances in this park: “In a pen-zoo and people behaved in an animal way,” “The herd was raging and raging, creating a bodily shame and delirium from dances.”
Characteristic behavior distinguishes the inhabitants of this village. Here is Artemka-soap, a representative of the local punks, here is a plowman and a thief Strekach, a man capable of any meanness and infamy. It is he who attacks Lyudochka on one of the evenings when she returns home through the park. And does it out of boredom, wanting to poke around before friends. His attitude to this character Astafyev expresses in the author’s comments – caustic and sarcastic, in contemptuous intonation. In this hero there is nothing human, he is a mean and primitive type. Having become a victim of violence, the heroine is hard at experiencing what happened. She tries to find support from Gavrilovna, in her own family. However, everyone remains indifferent to her grief. At these moments, Lyudochka remembers the deceased boyfriend in the hospital, that he could not help him, to share his fate, feels his acute guilt before him. In the simple soul of this girl live strong and deep feelings.
After all that happened, Lyudochka feels a deep sense of guilt, shame, despair, loneliness. “No one asked about anything – no one cares about me!” she thinks. And she decides to commit suicide by hanging herself on a tree. Bitter exclamation of the author seems to continue the thoughts of his heroine: “And the soul?” But who needs it, that unpretentious, simple soul, in the ordinary flesh, the soul? “
Suicide of the girl causes ambiguous reaction of associates. Close people experience an acute sense of guilt, stepfather Lyudochka straightens with Strekach. In the village, everything remains the same. Astafyev notes: “Oppressed, robbed, scratched, cut, and beaten, in fear of waiting for misfortunes, the living inhabitants of the railway village now breathe freely and will live more or less well before the advent of the new Strekach, who was also bred and raised.” With bitterness Astafyev peers into the souls of his heroes and realizes that this “dark kingdom” has ruined an innocent soul.
And what are the origins of these troubles? According to the writer, the root of this evil is in breaking the ties of the people with their history, in the death of the Russian village, in disastrous social policy, when the state does not care about a particular person. In the soul of heroes there is no faith in God, but there are no other ideals.
Astafyev writes bitterly about the morals of the Russian people, who are concerned with the construction of socialism and communism, when human life depreciates, when all moral principles collapse, everything that the Russian man was living from the time immemorial.