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The story takes place in the men’s cancer ward of a hospital in a city in Soviet Central Asia. The patients in Ward 13 all suffer from cancer, but differ in age, personality, nationality, and social class as if such a thing could be possible in the Soviet “classless” society!
Cancer Ward – Wikipedia
We are first introduced to Pavel Rusanov, a Communist Party functionary, who enters the hospital because of a rapidly-growing neck tumor. We soon learn, however, that the book’s central character is Oleg Kostoglotov, a young man who has recently been discharged from a penal camp and is aleksndr “eternally” exiled to this particular province.
Only two weeks earlier, he was admitted to the ward in grave condition from an unspecified tumor, but he has responded rapidly to radiation therapy. Among the doctors are Zoya, a medical student; Vera Gangart, a young radiologist; and Lyudmila Dontsova, the chief of radiation therapy.
Rusanov and Kostoglotov respond to therapy and are eventually discharged; other patients remain in the ward, get worse, or are sent home to die. In the end Kostoglotov boards a train to the site of his “eternal” exile: But Oleg somehow did not recognize it. While incarcerated, he had been operated ware for a tumor, but was not told the diagnosis.
He subsequently developed a recurrence, received radiotherapy in Tashkent, and recovered. In The Cancer Ward Solzhenitzyn transforms these experiences into a multifaceted tale about Soviet society during the period of hope and liberalization after Stalin’s death.
Cancer, of course, is an obvious metaphor for the totalitarian state. The novel also provides an interesting look at mid-century Soviet medicine and medical ethics. Of course, the paternalism solhenitsyn here e. The novel also explores the personal qualities and motivation of physicians, and the issue of intimate relationships between doctors and patients. Probably the book’s strongest points are its insight into human nature and the believability of its characters.
Miscellaneous Translated by Rebecca Frank.
Cancer Ward : Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn :
Summary The story takes place in the men’s cancer ward of a hospital in a city in Soviet Central Asia. Commentary Solzhenitzyn himself was released from a labor camp in earlyjust before Stalin’s death, and was exiled to a village in Kazakhstan.
Place Published New York.