Understanding the text
Answer these questions.
a. What bad habits did Aksionov have before his marriage?
➜ Aksionov was a very handsome and jovial person who used to seek his happiness. Before marriage, he had very bad habits of drinking alcohol and involving in fights. He used to drink much and become riotous.
b. What can be the meaning of his wife’s dream?
➜ The meaning of his wife dream can be a sign of bad omen. In her dream, she had seen her husband returning his town with grey hair. She became quite afraid of her husband. She supposed the dream as a sign of evil.
c. Why did Aksionov think of killing himself?
➜ Aksionov thought of killing himself because he remembered all those harsh situations which he had faced in his life without committing any crime. He remembered his torture, the people around him while he was in chains, the convicts, twenty-six years of imprisonment, his premature old age etc. All these painful thoughts made him so wretched that he was ready to kill himself.
d. Why did Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant?
➜ Makar disclosed that he had killed the merchant because he felt ashamed of himself. He felt pity over Aksionov. Aksionov saved Makar from the governor though he was a victim of Makar’s crime. The act of Aksionov made Makar feel ashamed and disclose his crime.
e. Why doesn’t Aksionov wish to return to his family at the end of the story?
➜ Aksionov doesn’t wish to return his family at the end of the story because he has become quite Old. He has spent his entire life in prison without committing any crime. He is feeble too at this age. He desires to die in the prison instead of going to his family.
Reference to the context
a. “Well, old man,” repeated the Governor, “tell me the truth: who has been digging under the wall?”
i. Who is that old man?
➜ That old man is Aksionov who has spent his twenty-six years in prison.
ii. Which truth is the speaker asking about?
➜ The speaker is asking about the truth of digging an escape hole.
iii. Which wall does the speaker mean?
➜ The speaker means the prison’s wall.
b. Describe Aksionov’s character.
➜ Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov was a young wealthy merchant in the town of Vladimir in Russia. He had two shops and a house. He was a handsome man with fair-curly hair. He was full of fun and very fond of singing. He used to drink much before marriage but later on, he changed himself and became a good man. He had virtuous qualities such as faith, forgiveness, freedom and acceptance. He was accused of murdering a fellow merchant and robbing him. He suffered a lot in prison and spent his twenty-six years waiting for God’s judgement. He was also mentally strong because he was able to endure many unfortunate events, such as losing his home and his business. Finally, he displayed a strong religious devotion by growing closer to God during difficult times. He was a truthful man, holding his peace till the end but circumstances changed his fate and he died in prison at last.
c. What is the theme of the story?
➜ We find various themes here in this story “God Sees the Truth, but Waits”. The major themes in the story are guilt, forgiveness, faith, conflict, freedom and acceptance. The story has presented all these themes. Among these themes, forgiveness is one of the greatest themes. Here, we find forgiveness of Aksionov for Makar Semyonich. Although Aksionov has spent his twenty-six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, he is able to forgive Makar who committed the crime. This story has shown the best form of revenge which is forgiveness.
d. Which symbols are used in the story and what do they indicate?
➜ Answer: We find the use of many symbols here in this story. Following are the symbols used in the Story: 1. House and Shops: House and shops symbolize the earthly material possession which doesn’t favour anyone and remain forever. Aksinonov doesn’t get the support of his possession till the end.
2. Nightmare (grey hair): The terrible dream of Aksionov’s wife symbolizes the terrible fate of Aksionov. The story has presented the bad results of the nightmare. The grey hair in the dream turns out to be real in Aksionov’s life.
3. The prison: The prison itself is a symbol of Aksionov’s suffering and his eventual spiritual transformation. Prison is the place where he finds pains, tortures and even spiritual transformation.
4. Book (The Lives of the Saints): This is the symbol of religious transformation within Aksionov Due to this book Aksionov devotes his life towards God and keeps faith till the end.
Reference beyond the text
a. What role does religion play in Aksionov’s life? How does he undergo a spiritual transformation in the story?
➜ Religion plays a very vital role in Aksionov’s life. He has spent his whole life in Siberian prison expecting for the right judgement of God. After being suspected by his wife, he gives up all his hopes and tells himself that God only knows the truth. For twenty-six years as a convict in Siberia, he grows older. In prison, Aksionov works hard and learns to make boots. He earns a little money with which he buys the book ‘The Lives of the Saints’. He devotes his life in the name of religion being much faithful on God. He starts reading and singing this book in the prison’s church on Sundays. He realizes about various aspects of life, fate in connection with the religion. The prison authorities even like him for his meekness. His fellow-prisoners respect him and call him “Grandfather” or “The Saint.” He knows about fate, spirituality, God’s devotion, righteous path, acceptance, forgiveness etc. He keeps on showing his truthfulness. He meets the real murderer of the merchant but remains silent. He even saves the convict from the governor. He gets self-realization and forgives Makar at the end. Aksionov realizes that forgiveness is the path to peace. He obtains peace at last and dies. In this way, we find him and his life-transforming from materialism to spiritualism only because of religion.
b. What does the story tell us about the existence of unfair system of justice?
➜ The story tells us about the existence of an unfair system of justice through the main protagonist’s incident of life. Here in this story, a good and innocent man is wrongly imprisoned on a charge of murder, punished for 26 years and made to lose everything and his entire life for no fault or crime of his own, but only based on evidence. He suffers a lot entire his life but get self-realization and dies peacefully at last.