Got to know and love Gorky’s mother. Yes, that’s how I can put the experience of reading about her. The best thing about this classic is that it is told in the views of a simple and endearing village old woman. Yes, she is simple, yet she attains as much greatness as a human soul could possible do.
She does not rise as a heroine overnight, nor are there any incredible twists and turns that enable her transformation. Yet this gripping tale of a woman who is already past her times, regains a new lease of life through her comrades.
Sowing the motherly love she has for her own son, she reaps a much greater love with which she embodies the entire world. In her own words, she marvels at the vastness of her own heart.
The Mother, set in the revolutionary period of Russia, is the story of Pelagueya Nilovna, the mother of Pavel Vlaslov, a great revolutionary.
The mother is a poor widow of a factory worker. She has had a terribly hard life with her beastly drunkard of a husband, knowing nothing but beatings and constant terror of being beaten up. After his father’s death, Pavel also becomes a worker at the factory run by the rich and creamy of the society. The wealthy industrialists feed on the sweat of the peasants and factory workers. The country is under the czar’s monarchy, the authorities ruthless, and the people in undue misery.
The mother gradually observes that her son is very different from what her husband or other factory workers have been. She finds him reading in all his free hours and one day he brings home a group of strange people from the city, amidst whom there is also a young woman.
The mother very slowly comprehends that these "young children" are revolutionaries actively working for a movement through which they hope to create a whole new world.
A world as it should be! clean and beautiful, a world that has "everything for all, and all for everything". A world that worships work, and makes it obligatory for every living person. A world that is strange to evil, thievery, greed, and misery.
She first merely considers them as precocious children engrossed in a new play. She then involves herself into it, more out of her love for her son and his friends, than anything. But slowly she understands, appreciates, and voluntarily gives herself to the cause. She stimulates the rest of the mothers and fathers to be with their children, to help them in their journey of seeking truth; to be proud of their own sons and daughters who are willing to be tortured themselves so they can to free the spirit of the entire human race.
It’s a tale that moves you to tears, yet makes you laugh with the same childlike fervor that she feels.
It’s the tale of a mother whose pure love for her son makes her take the same rough path as his, so far only dared by dashing young men and women.
It’s a tale of hope and truth. It’s a tale that reminds you once again that the greatest things in life are always simple and humble, waiting only to be seen.
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