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Gladkov's Cement is a novel depicting post civil war Russia during 1921.

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Introduction

Gladkov's Cement is a novel depicting post civil war Russia during 1921. The main character is a hero of the revolution by the name of Gleb Chumalov. Gleb returns to his home town where he worked as a mechanic before the war. Finding the factory he worked in devasted, and his wife distant; Gleb sets out to rebuild his life. Through Gleb's attempt to rebuild this cement factory, and rebuild his relationship with his wife, Gladkov reveals his views of the New Economic Policy, gender, family life, women's public participation and the bureaucratization of the Bolshevik party. The NEP, New Economic Policy, was the restructuring of the Soviet economy to integrate elements of capitalism in order to ensure the continuation of Bolshevik power. In the novel the NEP is portrayed as a betrayal of the revolution. Various times through out the novel examples of negative effects upon the revolution are attributed to the NEP. Examples such as production of pipe lighters on the job, and petty theft from the factories are associated with the NEP. ...read more.

Middle

(54) Dasha admits to Gleb that she cheated on him and feels no remorse. She is liberated from the obligations to serve her husband and remain loyal to him. The revolution had taught her to rely on herself, and too stand up to men as an equal. This shows the wild swing in gender roles in Russia, from the typical subservient peasant girl too the proud independent working woman. (27) These new changes in gender roles had a profoundly negative effect on family life in Russia. The group homes took children out of the care of the family, and into the hands of the State. These group homes had poor facilities and little food, and many children died in the horrible conditions. Gleb and Dasha's daughter Nurka died in the home from lack of love. Dasha remarked, "Nurka was a blossom torn from the branch and thrown upon the highway." (254) The new social roles also affected the housekeeping and family time. Gleb stated, "Now I've come home, in my own house, and you are not a part of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

(91) The attitudes and actions of the workers and Gleb shows Gladkov's belief in the power of the common man, and his disgust for bureaucracy. Gladkov's novel Cement covers many of the changes in post civil war Russia. The New Economic Policy is portrayed as a betrayal of the revolution, and the return to the evils of Capitalism. New freedoms for women are seen by Gladkov as beneficial to the revolution, except for the negative effects on the family. The great evil of bureaucratization is shown to be the greatest challenge to the success of Communism in Russia. Ultimately, Gladkov shows a pessimistic view of post-Revolutionary Soviet society. The elimination of party members due to disagreement with policy shows the totalitarian nature of the new regime. Such as with Sergey who disagreed with the NEP, but was a loyal Communist supporter. The lack of affection towards children, such as the death of Nurka, and the baby floating in the sea shows the negative view of Soviet society; the massive bureaucratization that oppresses the worker is also another negative of post-civil war Russia. All of these elements spell the doom to Communism in Russia, as Gladkov never saw, but did manage to predict. Knupp 4 ...read more.

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