About the work
Kataev’s story “The son of the regiment” was written in 1944. In the book for the first time in Soviet literature, the theme of war was revealed through the perception of the child – Vanya Solntseva, a boy of twelve years. For the story “Son of the Regiment” Kataev was awarded the Stalin Prize II degree. The work is written within the literary tradition of socialist realism.
Vanya Solntsev is a boy of 12 years, an orphan whom scouts found. He became “the son of a regiment”, and then was enlisted in the Suvorov school. Scouts gave him the nickname “shepherd”.
Captain Enakiev is a 32-year-old man, the battery commander. He wanted to adopt Vanya, but was killed during the battle.
Corporal Bidenko – scout, before the war was Donbass miner, “bony giant.” Together with Egorov and Gorbunov, Vanya was picked up in the forest.
Gorbunov – scout, Bidenko’s friend, “hero”, “Siberian”, before the war was a trans-Baikal lumberjack.
Sergeant Egorov is a 22-year-old man, a scout.
Three scouts returned on an autumn night through a damp, cold forest. Suddenly they found a muttering boy in a small trench in a dream, a dreamy boy. The child woke up and, jumping up sharply, snatched “somewhere a large honed nail.” One of the scouts, Sergeant Yegorov, reassured him that they were “their own”.
Captain Enakiev, the commander of the artillery battery, “was brave,” but “while cold, restrained, prudent, as befits a good artilleryman.”
Found a scout boy, Vanya Solntsev, was an orphan. His father was killed at the front, his mother was killed, his grandmother and sister died of starvation. The boy went to “gather pieces”, on the way the gendarmes got caught. They put Vanya in a children’s isolation ward, where he almost died of scabies and typhus,
but soon fled. Now he was trying to cross the front. With him, in his bag, he wore a sharpened nail and a shabby primer.
Vanya reminded Yenakiev about his own family – his mother, his wife and his seven-year-old son, who died “in the forty-first.”
Scouts fed Vanya “unusually tasty mole”. A hungry boy ate greedily, with an appetite. “For the first time in these three years, Vanya was among people who did not need to be afraid.”
Bidenko and Gorbunov promised Vanya to enroll him “on all kinds of allowances” and train military affairs, but first they need to receive an order for transfer from Captain Enakiev. However, contrary to the wishes of the scouts, Yegorov handed Bidenko the order of Enakiev to send Vanya to the rear in the orphanage. A frustrated boy says that he will still run away on the road.
Bidenko returned to the unit the next day late at night, gloomy and silent. At this time, the army, pursuing the enemy, advanced far west.
Bidenko did not want to admit that Vanya had run away from him twice, but after all he had told me all about it. For the first time, the boy jumped out of the truck at a bend and hid in the forest. Bidenko would not have found Vanya, if the letter did not fall on the corporal-the boy fell asleep, sitting on the top of a tree.
To Vanya again did not run away, Bidenko tied a rope to his hand, the second end of which wrapped around his fist. In the truck, the corporal periodically woke up and, pulling at the rope, checked to see if Vanya was in place. However, after sleeping a little more, the corporal discovered in the morning that the second end of the rope was tied to the boot of a female surgeon who was traveling with them. The boy escaped.
Vanya, wandering the military roads for a long time, came to the headquarters. On the way he met a “gorgeous boy” in full marching uniform of the Guards artillery – “son of the regiment”, who served as a liaison officer to Major Voznesensky. It was this meeting that prompted Vanya to find the chief commander and ask for help to return to the scouts.
Chapters 9 to 10
Vanya, not knowing Enakiev in person, took him for an important commander. The boy began to complain to the captain that strict Enakiev did not want to take him as the son of a regiment. The captain takes the boy with him to the scouts.
The scouts were very happy about the boy’s return. “So Vanya’s fate turned magically three times in such a short time.”
Bidenko and Gorbunov took Vanya to the reconnaissance, without reporting to the commander that they were taking the boy with them for the conductor – he knew this area well. Vanya had not yet been given uniform, so apparently he looked like a “real village cowherd boy”.
The scouts sent Vanya forward, but within a few hours only his horse returned. Gorbunov sent Bidenko to the unit to report the incident.
The scouts did not know that while Vanya was recognizing the road, he used parallel compasses to draw sketches on the margins of the alphabet – he was trying to remove the terrain plan. The Germans caught him and seized and put him in a dark dug-out.
Vanya was interrogated by a German. Despite the fact that the drawings in the literal and the Russian compass were clear evidence against the boy, he did not say anything.
Vanya awoke in the dugout from the sounds of bombing. One of the bombs blew the doors of the dugout, and the boy saw that the Germans had retreated. Soon Russian troops appeared.
Chapters 16. – 17
After the incident, Vanya was tonsured, taken to a bathhouse, given new outfits and “put on full rations.”
“Vanya had a happy ability to please people at first sight.” “Captain Enakiev, like his soldiers, at first sight fell in love with the boy.” Learning about the assignment in which Vanya participated, Enakiev was very angry with the scouts who liked the boy too “fun.”
The captain called the boy to him and appointed him to be connected.
Chapters 19. – 20
Since that day, Vanya began to live mostly with Enakiev. The captain wanted to personally raise the boy. Enakiev “seconded Vanya to the first gun of the first platoon as a reserve number,” so that he learned to “gradually fulfill the duties of all the numbers of the gun crew.” “The first days the boy missed his scout friends very much, at first he thought that he had lost his own family, but soon he saw that his new family was no worse than the old one.”
Chapters 21. – 22
Talking with the gunner Kovalev about Van, Enakiev shares his plans that he would like to adopt a boy.
Suddenly, the Germans began to advance. The enemy surrounded the infantry units.
“Captain Enakiev ordered by phone the first platoon of his battery to immediately withdraw from the position and, without losing a second, move forward.” “He ordered the second platoon to shoot all the time, covering the open flanks of the shock company of Captain Akhunbaev.”
Being in the first platoon, Vanya helped the soldiers than he could. At the height of the battle Enakiev noticed the boy and ordered him to go back to the battery. Vanya refused. Realizing that arguing with the boy is useless, the captain wrote something on a piece of paper and asked Vanya to deliver the packet to the commander of the headquarters.
When Vanya returned, the battle was over. The boy did not know that after shooting all the cartridges, the soldiers fought with the Germans with shovels and bayonets, and then, Enakiev “caused the batteries to fire on themselves.” Vanya was walking along the battlefield, and, finally, he saw the killed Enakiev on the gun carriage.
Bidenko approached the boy. “Inside Vanya’s soul, something seemed to turn and open.” He embraced Bidenko and began to cry.
In the pocket of Enakiev, they found a note in which the commander bid farewell to his battery, asked him to bury him on “his native, Soviet land,” and take care of Vanya’s fate. Soon Bidenko in the direction of the commander of the artillery regiment took Vanya to Suvorov’s school. The scouts gave him food, soap and epaulets of Captain Enakiev, wrapped in the newspaper “Suvorovsky onslaught.”
The first night in the school, Vanya dreamed of running down a marble staircase, “surrounded by guns, drums and pipes.” It was difficult for him to climb, but a gray-haired old man with a diamond star on his chest led him up the steps, saying: “Go, shepherd… Step along bravely!”.
In the story “Son of the Regiment” Kataev describes the story of a simple peasant boy, Vanya Solntseva, whose war took away his native home and family. However, the hard trials only tempered Vanya’s spirit, and among the soldiers he finds his second family. The author shows courage, courage and endurance of the boy, even in the most difficult situations.
The story “The Son of the Regiment” was twice filmed, and also staged at the theater of the young spectator in Leningrad.
We recommend not to dwell on a brief retelling of the “Son of the Regiment”, but to read the book completely.