I have always considered that the core of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago rests within the framework of Dr. Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago’s love of humanity and Pavel “Pasha” Antipov’s misplaced love of revolution. It is a fictional work I have returned to over and over again, as it has helped me to better understand the non-fictional writings of Solzhenitsyn.
Building a composite of insights from Havel, Milosz, Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak and George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, have helped me to attempt to comprehend a country and culture in a time period deliberately hidden from the world.
Everything had changed suddenly — the tone, the moral climate; you didn’t know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. There was no one around, neither family nor people, whose judgment you’ve respected. At such a time you felt the need of committing yourself to something absolute — life or truth or beauty — of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules that had been discarded. You needed to now surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, and more unreservedly, than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life, that was now abolished and gone for good.
— Borin Pasternak in Dr. Zhivago