House 6/1 Romance (411-437)


16.  Katya Thinks of Grekov and Seryozha

a.       Katya’s thoughts as the Germans close in: Krekov has ordered the others to keep away from her. “She’s mine.” Seryozha may be sent on a suicide mission to get rid of him.

b.      The cat crawls off its pile of rags towards Katya, it’s rear legs paralyzed, and then dies. It’s last impulse was to crawl towards her.

c.      Note the thoughts that cross her mind during the bombardment. (415)  Images of Seryhoza and Grekov flash in a non-linear stream of consciousness. (It is in this state, not in rational mode, that we make key moral connections.)

17.  Grekov’s Choice

a.       Seryhoza kisses Katya and hugs her despite the lice, and they fall asleep arm in arm.

b.      Grekov sends the young lovers back to the Russian lines and life.

18.  Krymov’s Orders

a.       The news of Grekov’s misbehavior has reached Front Headquarters. Divisional Commisar: “A State within a State is something we can do without.”

b.      Krymov is sent to put down the political heresy in House 6/1: refusal to obey orders and follow proper leadership models: all this partisan nonsense.

19.  Transit to House 6/1

a.       In the excitement of risking his life while maneuvering towards the tunnel to House 6/1, Krymov starts to believe that he can re-win Zhenya. “I’m on her path.”

20.  Laughter at Krymov’s Rebuke of Grekov

a.       Krymov has been sent to suppress the general sense of equality that has emerged not only in House 6/1 but also throughout Stalingrad. Freedom has been achieved at Stalingrad most completely by those who know they are going to die. (Ikkonikov: “I still have a choice.”)

b.      He begins his pep speech, “Russians always beat Prussians!”, and the men respond with condescending laughter. “Precisely!” The old man, Polyakovin, says that he has always wanted to ask, “I've heard people say that under Communism everyone will receive according to his needs. But won't everyone just end up getting drunk? Especially if they receive according to their needs from the moment they get up.?”

c.       Another asks, “And what about the kolkhozes, comrade Commissar?  Couldn't we have them liquidated after the war?

d.      Grekov bluntly states, “Freedom. That’s what I am fighting for.” “You think you can put everything back just as it was before?” “The general coercion.”

e.       That night Krymov is wounded in the head by a stray bullet and gets stretchered out. 

21.  Byerozkin’s Treatment: An Old Russian Remedy

a.       Byerozkin, the battalion commander (see p. 58) has become incapacitated by a virus. He is oblivious to everything. Khrenov’s voice from the sky.

b.      Glushkov, his aide, brings him to his senses by reading a letter from his wife to him. Byerozkin asks Glushkov to prepare a scalding bath of river water in an oil drum so that his fever will break. It works, and Byerozkin is ready for duty again.

The German Offensive (pp. 429-441)


22.  Klimov and Old Polyakov in No Man’s Land

a.       Poyakov gets permission to go find news of Seryozha, and he and Klimov get caught in No Man’s Land when the German offensive erupts. They both take shelter form the firestorm in a deep pit where Polyakov reaches out to hold the hand of, it turns out, a German soldier who has hidden in the same spot.

b.      Polyakov and Klimov survive, but House 6/1 is leveled and everyone within is killed.

23.  Byerozkin Buried

a.       Glushkov digs out the rubble to free Byerozkin, and he discovers that he is now in command of the sector.