Mandelstam's A May Night Memoir .pdf
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Mandelstam's "A May Night Memoir"
The memoir serves as a reminder that literature has the potential to communicate
appalling for instance the, "Hope against hope" by Mandelstam. The memoir is a clear
persecution account of the Stalin's terror and gives a detailed and convincing description about
Mandelstam. The account also highlights a luminous account of the life during the 1930s the
purges in the Soviet Union. Several critics acknowledge that Mandelstam's work is an authentic
presentation of the Soviet residents who were silenced and gives an image of the life that the
ordinary citizens went through during the Stalin Terror. The book is a reflection of strongly
committed individuals who hold freedom ideals (Mandelstam 2). However, the book does not
give a representation of other people who opposed the ruling regime and did not fight against the
substantial dissent of the Soviet government. The book depicts how the ordinary people who
opposed the government spent their life in exile or labor camps and were later executed.
Mandelstam asserts that the huge spread of the communal apartments increased the rate
of government prosecution during the Stalin terror regime (1). The depiction of the apartment did
not prove to highlight the housing challenges that the locals faced, but it was a ground that the
state used to extend its powers of surveying private homes. The author believes that unity in the
society fostered a peaceful family as members held the responsibility of monitoring each other.
The patrolling police could send away the relatives; children or spouses after a serious execution
and the government lowered the criminal age to twelve years. The lowering of the sentencing age
aimed at reinforcing pressure on the citizens to corporate with the police and give the children
humble time. More so, the government forced divorce to the wives of the executed husbands.
The Russian Revolution highlighted several aspects of the ruling regime and the opposing
elites. Mandelstam shows how art could change the society and depict the ill treatment of the
private police officers (4). The period led to the rise of the Acmeist Revolution that opposed the
private police, apartment searches and the oppression from the government. Mandelstam asserts
that several Acmeist personalities died during the operations and most of them were executed
(Mandelstam 5). For instance, Gumilyov died because of defying the government and the
oppressive rule. On the other hand, Akhmatova survived death during the Stalin terror even
though he went through severe punishment and was a victim of frequent arrests. More so, Lev, a
son to Akhmatova, suffered frequent arrest due to his position on the oppressive practices of the
government. The target during the Stalin era was Osip after he wrote a daring poem about the
situation during the terror period. The reader feels that the first searches of Mandelstam's
apartment by the private police was innocuous and was just normal police patrols. Mandelstam's
tried to conceal his poems by hiding them in pans, pillows and pots. The police could even
conduct their searches late into the night, for instance, the 1934 patrol when they entered Osip's
house at one in the morning. After the invasion, there was no hope and Osip was sent to a prison
in Moscow. The police denied him water, and he was put in a straightjacket and denied his right
to sleep. Osip brings out the true representation of the prison during this period and shows how
the police handled other prisoners. More so, the police could come up with a false allegation to
the prisoners. For instance, the prison guards in Moscow told Osip about his wife's arrest. More
so, the police could torture the prisoners until they could start groaning. More so, Mandelstam
asserts that during his time in prison, he saw the sanity of undermining someone conducted in a
systematic manner (5). Thus, the prison was the place the police found relieve in exercising their
oppressive powers and showing how dominant they were during the regime.
Mandelstam opines that life during the Stalin terror had several challenges to the ordinary
citizens (13). First, Osip exemplifies how he was isolated during the interrogation at the prison.
More so, Osip highlights his ordeal before and after sentence, and the guards were worried about
the intentions of the couple. He opines that the guards could turn to their guns whenever they
noticed any movement. During the transfer of prisoners, Mandelstam the guards were unruly and
handled them roughly. More so, he knew that he would one day be murdered. The journey to
other prisons also took a long time as Osip states that it took them five nights to transfer to
Cherdyn (Mandelstam 34). The sleepless nights and the torture that some of the prisoners went
through made them decide to commit murder such as Osip, who tried to jump through a hospital
window. The government sent some people into exile and later rearrested them. Osip was sent
into exile but later rearrested, and he had constant gnawing about his future. The ordinary
citizens were also warned and threatened with going to camps. More so, the ruling regime also
threatened influential people such as friends and relative. Osip gives a pre-evidential writing that
focuses on his life after the exile that he would be murdered. The government ensured that the
family members of the victims went through psychological trauma to avoid future rejection of
the government policies and rules. Thus, the ordinary people went through psychological,
physical punishment and even death during the Stalin terror.
The memoir, ‘Hope against hope' is an autopsy of the violent revolution that led to mass
persecution. The memoir highlights the terse sentence environment that Nadezdha goes through
after the death of her husband. The memoir depicts the events that occurred before the arrest and
death of the Osip The memoir reveals the way art helped in the depiction of the oppressive
nature of the government and the police officers. The memoir acts as a witness during the Stalin
era in gives the greatest imaginative freedom and the literature value that happened during the
regime. The author highlights how Osip used art to explode the imminent prophecy about his
death, execution and later his murder. The memoir is an inspiring story that relates love and art
and how the couple handled the tricky situation during the desperate time. Thus, the career of
most of the poets and authors during the Stalin period endured the oppressive nature of the
In conclusion, the memoir is a depiction of the ways art can help alleviate creative
thinking and influencing people against any form of oppression. Osip is the target, and he
endures the suffering before he is murdered. The memoir the Stalin period as oppressive and it
denied the ordinary citizens a chance to express themselves through art. More so, the police
officers were violent and mishandled the citizens and even murdered others. Thus, Osip tries to
show the ill manners of the regime because it feared any form of argument.
Mandelstam, Nadezdha. Hope Against Hope. London: Harvill Press, 1999. Print.