I. Turgenev, "Biryuk": what is the main theme of the story?
As V. Belinsky said: “Turgenev called on the Russian peasant from such a side as no one had yet gone.” And indeed it is. The author so skillfully revealed the Russian soul of a serf peasant, stricken by poverty, but unbroken and incorruptible, that it is impossible to unequivocally say what the main theme of the story "Biryuk" is.
The answer, what is the main theme of the story "Biryuk", will not come to the reader immediately. In this work there is everything: the hard life of serfs, devotion, strength of spirit, and principles, and compassion. This is a real kaleidoscope of events, during which the nature of the main characters is revealed.
How do we meet them? Gloomy, poor, wary. How do we see them at the end? Compassionate, responsive, able to forgive. The story "Biryuk" is woven from the many-sided diversity of human character, which does not always correspond to appearance, status and social opinion.To understand what the main theme of the story "Biryuk" you first need to familiarize yourself with the brief content and consider specific episodes, which shows the main thematic areas of the work.
What a story?
The protagonist of the story is Thomas Kuzmich, whom everyone calls Biryuk, which means a gloomy and lonely person. He is a simple peasant serf guarding the master's forest. According to the plot, Kuzmich enters into a direct conflict with another slave that he wants to steal firewood in the forest from poverty and despair.
The hunter, who was in the house of a forester due to bad weather, becomes a witness to this incident. He is surprised that even during a thunderstorm, Foma Kuzmich goes into the woods to catch the offender red-handed. If you look at the situation only from this side, then you can say that the author raises the topic of dedication in his story. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, which can in no way be the answer to the question - what is the theme of the story "Biryuk".
Foma Kuzmich is a poor, abandoned and unhappy person. Previously, he had quite a happy family: a wife, two children, a house and the work of a forester, which he responsibly performed.Over time, circumstances have changed - his wife left Biryuk, leaving him alone with two children.
There are no beds in the Biryuk hut, only one stove, so all the households sleep on the floor. His daughter is barefoot and untidy, she can only dream of the notorious happy childhood, because she has to look after the child (the younger brother, who is still in the cradle). The house is dark and dirty, and children eat such bread that not everyone will eat. And in spite of all this, for Thomas Kuzmich theft is the last thing. He is merciless to violators and is ready to punish everyone justly. Therefore, having caught in the forest the same poor man, like him, Biryuk turns into a merciless judge.
Based on this, it can be assumed that the desire for justice, despite everything, is the main theme of the story "Biryuk". What then can justice be if "poverty rushing from all crevices"?
This is definitely not about justice, so you need to dig deeper. Caught red-handed, the muzhik begins to justify that he is forced to steal "with hunger". Biryuk silently listens to his complaints and is justified by the fact that he is a man dependent and from him "will charge". In the soul of the protagonist an internal struggle begins to occur. Foma Kuzmich is ready to feel sympathy for the poor peasant, whom life forced to steal wood during a thunderstorm, but still retains the “face”, leaving the intruder locked up.
So, what is the main theme of the story "Biryuk"? In the 6th grade, having studied this episode, young readers can talk about performance and responsibility. High school students will surely say that here we are talking about loyalty to their duty. And older people will note that the narrator shows how work adversely affects people when conscience, pity and compassion fall silent in the face of responsibilities.
Only at the end of the story can one understand what the main theme of the story "Biryuk" by I. Turgenev. Completely desperate man begins to call Kuzmich a murderer and a beast. The peasant is driven to despair and takes out his anger on Thomas. He is ready to accept punishment, even death, but he cannot accept the misunderstanding of a person who is in a situation no better than his.
If you compare a man and Biryuk by physical strength, then a man is definitely inferior.But if we talk about moral and ethical qualities, they are equal. Yes, Thomas is a taciturn and secretive person, it is hard for him to show his sincerity, but no matter how difficult he may be, he will never go against the law. The peasant who stole the forest is the exact opposite. Tired of a half-starved life, he decides to commit a crime. The peasant is sure that those who are in a similar situation will surely understand him, because only in poverty is humanity manifested. But when he does not find understanding, he falls into despair and breaks all his indignation at the forester.
This gives a very unexpected effect - Biryuk releases the man. "With one turn he pulled the sash guy from his elbows", Then took the collar and pushed through the open door.
Sympathy and understanding the grief of others have prevailed over the cruelty imposed by the duty of service - this is the main theme of the story "Biryuk". The short answer to this question is this: despite human rumor and its awesome appearance, Biryuk turned out to be compassionate towards another and honest person.
Protest and Prehistory
The story "Biryuk" is included in the collection of works "Notes of the Hunter", published in 1852.This story addresses the issue of peasant protest. But since due to censorship restrictions, it was impossible to write anything against serfdom, the anger of a desperate peasant is not poured on the landowner whom he serves, but on his servant, who protects the property of the property.
True, from this anger does not lose any strength or meaning. The personification of serfdom in the story is Biryuk himself, whom the landowner gave the right to protect the forest. Severe, responsible, at times cruel forester, who is presented at the beginning of history, in the climax scene is the reader in the image of a tragic hero. In his soul is a struggle between emotions and principles. With all his rightness, he feels the rightness of the peasant. Biryuk sees the despair of the peasant and lets go because of simple human sympathy.
The author with love and compassion describes the hero and his home, it is clear that he sympathizes with the impoverished peasant.