"And Quiet Flows the don" is a novel by a Russian author Mikhail Sholokhov. It is considered to be his life work and he wrote it for 14 years.
There are 4 book of the novel. The first one was published in 1928, the second 1929, third in 1933 and the fourth in 1940. He received a Nobel Prize for the novel in 1965.
The novel shows events that happened from 1912 to 1922. The main events are World War One, revolution in 1917 and the civil war.
The plot is based on real, historical facts, accurate event descriptions, geographic places and real people.
Sholokhov, like a real expert shows the battles, ordinary people and he describes the faith of Grigori Melekhov.
Time: from the First WW to the end of the October revolution
The plot begins with the World War in a small village by the river Don. Grigori Melekhov lives there with his family that consists of his parents, sister and a married brother.
Grigori is in a love affair with a married woman called Aksinia. Her husband Stephan is in the army. The traditional people didn’t approve of their relationship and because of that Grigori’s father, Panteley, arranges his son to be married to Natalya. She came from a rich family.
Grigori married her but he wasn’t happy. She was a good and loyal wife but a bit cold. After a few years Grigori went back to Aksinia.
The first communist supporters started to appear in the village and they were fighting for equality.
Grigori ran away with Aksinia and they worked on a field of a retired military officer. In the meantime Natayla gave birth to Grigori’s child and demanded him to leave Aksinia and take care of them. Grigori refused to do it so Natalya tried to kill herself.
The war started and Grigori was mobilized into the army. In the beginning he felt ill from the killing and the blood but soon he got though. He was even wounded several times and because of his great courage he was honored.
Soon after his daughter Tanya died from diphtheria. Aksinia was alone and desperate and in that condition the retired officer’s son seduced her. When Grigori found out about it he ended his relationship with Aksinia. After that Grigori confronted the officer’s son and decided to go back to the village. He also came back to Natalya.
The war was raging on and the military was dissatisfied. All of the mentioned became a good territory for the revolutionary propaganda to be spread across Russia. One Bolshevik told that the war against the Germans will turn into a civil war. In the meantime Natalya gave birth to a boy and a girl.
The army got more and more tired and when everyone believed that the war is over a civil war started. The October revolution began and Grigori joined the Bolsheviks. His honesty had a lot to do with it because he wanted to fight off the inequality and injustice. Even though he believe in his ideals they fell apart soon.
Grigori was struck by the murder of two officers from the opposite side. They were killed by the leader of the revolutionary movement.
When he came back home he decided to fight against the Bolsheviks. But he wasn’t happy either because murders were still going on in each sides of the civil war.
In the meantime the officer’s son got married and abandoned Aksinia. She came back to her husband Stephan who was liberated from captivity. Natalya was pregnant again and the child was Grigori’s but she didn’t want to be pregnant. She tried to violently end the pregnancy and she ended up dead.
Grigori was demobilized and came back home. There he met his son-in-law who was leading the Bolshevik revolution in his village.
Grigori joined a gang but soon he abandoned it and ran away with Aksinia. They wre ambushed and Aksinia was killed. Grigori was broken down and while he was burying her body he realized how sad and unfair life is.
The story brings a historic event, a revolution and a passionate love affair between Grigori and Aksinia. The author tried to show us a sad faith in times of war. This novel tells us about history but in the same time it takes on a journey through a life of an ordinary man.
Characters: Grigori, Askinia, Natalya, Stephan, Panteley and the rest of Grigori’s family
Grigori Melekhov - the main character in the novel. Good, kind-hearted with a great love for justice. He couldn’t live in atraditional village and when he went to war he often switched sides because he was against killing the captive men. His whole life he was searching for happiness but he couldn’t find it. His great love Aksinia was murdered and it crushed him. Then he concluded that life was unfair and sad.
Mikhail Sholokhov Biography
Mikhail Sholokhov was a Russian author born in 1905. His roots are from the river of Don and he was very close to it.
He was a self-thought man and when he was 15 he took part in the revolutionary battles on the river Don.
From 1924 he lived in his home village.
His first novel was published in 1926 under the title "And Quiet Flows the Don". He showed how rough and brutal life in a civil war can be and he used it to show the people’s mentality. It was his life work he wrote from 1940 to 1964 and he was awarded a Nobel Prize for it.
His other famous works are "At the Bidding of the Heart", "They Fought for their Country", "Destiny of a Man"…