Siege Essay: Helen Dunmore tells the story of the Siege of Leningrad by showing the trials and tribulations of one family. Do you think she has been successful?
I think that Helen Dunmore has been successful in the telling the story through the Levin family. She clearly depicts the trials and tribulations, yet Dunmore could’ve done justice by letting the audience know more about the major events of the progress of the Siege.
The Germans surround the city cutting off the food supply and escape routes. Over six thousand people were killed in Leningrad during the winter, mainly from starvation.
Throughout the novel, Anna and her family have been very well off. They all live together in safety, none of them are in prison or forced to be in the world war and have the skills needed for survival. We are told that they had an apartment which was very large and “desired by many” and that people would kill to live in such a large place. They own a burzhuika, have wood and food and are have money and their possessions.
Anna, the central character of the novel is a believable mixture of vulnerability and strength already having a very busy lifestyle. Dunmore portrays Anna’s selfless maternal qualities towards Kolya and her father. We learn that instead of chasing her ambitions of art in college that she feels responsibility towards her 5 year old brother, her job at the nursery and other commitments which show that she is very hard working. She sustains her family financially and physically. Due to food shortages, Anna returns to the Dacha, to collect food for the future. This shows that she is realistic about the tough future. When Anna is at the dacha, she manages to cull out a good quantity of potatoes and put them into her bag. We can tell from her behaviour that she is a hard working character. On her way back from the dacha, Anna is stopped and questioned by the militia. She bribes the militia-man by offering him some of her potatoes and onions.