The Cancer Ward Novel
TheCancer Ward Novel
TheCancer Ward Novel
Inthe novel, The Cancer Ward, Yefrem is one of the patients in theward. He is fifty years old, and he looks back at his life, hismistakes and achievements. Yefrem considers himself a high man forthe kind of work he does. He is a construction worker who hastraveled a lot of places. He feels that he cannot have cancer sincehe is in good shape. Yefrem is perfectly healthy, and he believesthat sooner or later all cancer will be gone. Yefrem is not the kindof a person who visits a doctor. As he thinks about his life, herealizes his dark side, lying to people and at one point amother-in-law cursed him. Yefrem loves two things in his life, moneyin his pocket and a free life.
Ashe comes to terms with his condition, Yefrem Podduyev decides to makehis neighbors aware of their conditions too. He wants them to knowthat they have cancer, and give them hope that they would get betterin the end.” He’d fallen ill for the first time the year beforelast-and bang! It was Cancer.” ("What Do Men Live By?"2008). He does not like books at all, in fact, he listens to theradio for news instead of reading the papers. At the hospital, thereare books by the bedside, but he doesn’t have any interest in them.He reads the books because he is bored and doesn’t know what to dowith his time. As he opens this particular book, he gets the titlewhat do men live by? The chapter in the book attracts him since hehas been having the same kind of question over and over again. Thestory in the book about a cobbler who supported his family with thekind of job moved him. The answer to the question is love. But Yefremthinks about his past life and the things that make him happy. Hewonders if any other things made him happy and what did he live by.
Ashe shares the riddle and the story with his friends in the ward theyhave different opinions. According to Sobgatov, men live by theirrations, uniforms, and supplies. He is a retired military. Turgan, astudent at the Ward, answers that people lived by their pay. Everyonein the ward seems to have a different opinion probably from theirexperiences in life. As he analyses his life, he feels the answer innot adequate. There is nothing in life Yefrem has not done. “Neitherproperty, apartment nor family held him anywhere”("What Do Men Live By?" 2008) He has traveled all over andhad so many women that he can’t count them. Yefrem feels that menlive by air, water, food, and alcohol. He feels that if people livedby love, then there would be no evils in the society. They allbelieve that has nothing to do with morality and it is not enough forpeople to live by love.
Nobodyin the ward could get close to the answer as they have differentviews about the world and things that they live for. “Tolstoyonly wrote optimistic and patriotic works…” ("WhatDo Men Live By?," 2008). I think men live by love. Love makespeople do the right things since it guides their morality. Loveprotects people and makes the world a better place. Since no one inthe ward lives by love, an individual who lives by love would besurprised when he visited the ward. All the patients believe inmaterial possessions which explains the reason why they are nothappy.
WhatDo Men Live By? (2008). In Solzhenitsyn`s TraditionalImagination. University of Georgia Press.
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