Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak is a fictional novel telling the romantic story of Yuri Zhivago’s struggle to choose between two women within the backdrop of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War. The forces of this chaotic time greatly impact the characters and add to their dynamic growth throughout the story. Yuri Zhivago, the protagonist of the story shows the personal impact of these violent times which adds to the novel’s brilliant use of personal viewpoints to provide historical insight to these times in Russia.
Doctor Zhivago takes place during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War between 1918 and 1922. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of outbreaks and chaos which caused the downfall of the tsarist autocracy and liberal Provisional Government which resulted in the establishment of the Soviet Party under control of the Bolsheviks. The Russian Civil War between 1918 and 1922 was an internal war in Russia between the Bolshevik Red Army and the anti-Bolshevik forces called the White Army. The civil war, which lasted about four years, led to the firm establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922 that lasted until its downfall in 1991. The historical background of Doctor Zhivago adds great development to the characters and setting and helps create such a dynamic storyline in the novel.
Yuri Zhivago, the protagonist of the novel, is primarily affected by the historical events. Serving as a doctor in the army causes him to meet Lara, who he always seems to meet in surprising and unexpected ways. He immediately develops a permanent love for her which would become a central theme in the novel. His love for her is affected though by his marriage to Tonya and the chaotic times surrounding their relationship. As the plot thickens, other themes begin to develop and the abstract antagonist is clearly seen. The main theme throughout the story is how the innocence of life is ruined by war. This theme is... [continues]
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