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The Winter Oak Analysis

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Introduction

THE WINTER OAK: This story has two settings - the school and the forest - and covers one working day in the life of Anna Vasilevna. The main events of her day are: the teaching of parts of speech, Savushkin's late arrival to class, her encounters with Savushkin both in the classroom and the staffroom, her journey through the woods (to Savushkin's house) and her encounters with nature therein and finally the point where she reaches some kind of understanding of Savushkin. The story focuses around Anna and Savushkin. Anna is clearly a hard-working, dedicated teacher, however, she is inexperienced and doesn't really know her pupils nor understand the lives they lead. She jumps to conclusions about her students (especially Savushkin) ...read more.

Middle

The journey is an education for Anna in two ways - firstly it pens her eyes to natural beauty but it also allows her to see Savushkin in a different and positive light: 'the most amazing thing in the forest was not the winter oak, but the small human being in the worn felt boots.' This is clearly a story where the teacher learns the lessons and her lessons could be many: * It is important not to judge people until you get to know them by sharing their experiences * Learning through experience is more effective and enjoyable than classroom study * It is important to admit your mistakes and learn from them * You should time out to appreciate the beauty of the natural world * It is possible to be poor in material terms ...read more.

Conclusion

She seems to understand parts of speech but not the beauty of what language represents (until she visits the forest). It is interesting to note that when she first sees the tree in the forest Nagibin holds back the word 'oak' until the end of the sentence (lines 207-208). The personification of the oak here and elsewhere brings it to life. Nagibin gives the impression in this story that the forest and the oak are part of a magical world, which keeps its secrets covered up and only gradually reveals them e.g. lines 165-167 ... Perhaps his intention in doing this is to show that the world and the people in it cannot be reduced to parts of speech - they are more complex and more wonderful than that. This is echoed in the penultimate sentence: 'a mysterious and wonderful future citizen.' ...read more.

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