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Doctor Zhivago
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Doctor Zhivago > Doctor Z - Week Four - Train to the Urals, Arrival

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message 1: by Dianne (last edited May 21, 2017 03:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dianne | 9 comments Train to the Urals - The Zhivagos leave via train for the unknown, with some misgivings by Dr. Z. They plan to stay on Tonya's grandfather's estate once they arrive. The Zhivagos pack lightly and gather many items to barter along their route. Dr. Z receives credits for a distribution center in exchange for medical services. The train ride itself is interesting, with the family packed in with a variety of other social classes and forced laborers. They encounter some issues en route, including a conductor who decides he wants to stop driving the train and a massive snowstorm.

On the train, Dr. Z learns that the Whites are in control in the North. The Whites supported the tsar and the old regime and the Reds are the communist Bolsheviks who are trying to gain power. In a case of mistaken identity, Dr. Z is taken to Strelnikov who is a powerful revolutionary, and S decides to let Dr. Z go.


Dianne | 9 comments Arrival - The Zhivagos quickly realize once they arrive that everyone knows each other and that customs are very different from Moscow. Tonya introduces Zhivago to Anfim Efimovich, who knew her grandfather and was familiar with the Zhivago family name. They encounter Samdevyatov, who advises the Zhivagos that they will encounter problems because of their family wealth. The Zhivagos head to stay with the Mikulitsyn family en route to their final destination. This turns out to be a questionable choice as M is vehemently opposed to the rich and questions the arrival of the family. He relents however, and the Z's settle in with Mrs. M's cookies and tea.


message 3: by Dianne (last edited Jun 07, 2017 04:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dianne | 9 comments A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handling it?

2. Why is Dr. Z protected and offered aid so many times throughout his journey?

3. Is lineage an asset or a liability to the Z family in this section?

4. How does Strelnikov's ascent to power reflect the influences of the shift in the balance of political power in Russia? What caused him to become so cutthroat?

5. How would you categorize the novel at this point in the book? Historical fiction? Romance? Epic?


Greg (gregreadsalot) | 200 comments Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handlin..."


Diane, wow, your questions are amazing! I think Zhivago is fine in a classless society. He is a doctor, first and foremost. But I think Tonya struggles.


Greg (gregreadsalot) | 200 comments Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handlin..."

Romance? Historical fiction? Epic? I think you just nailed this book to a tee: 'Dr. Zhivago" is an epic romance set within revolutionary Russia. But for me, I saw this movie, several times, as a romance. And that's how I see it now. I can't think of this story without the beautiful theme song, "Laura's Theme,". I think, though, that if Tolstoy had written this, it would have been twice as long.


Greg (gregreadsalot) | 200 comments Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handlin..."

I think Zhivago is just fine is a classless society. Tonya struggles.
To me, this is a romance. But I've seen the film too many times, I love the song, "Laura's Theme". I can't remove myself from the incredible romantic elements.


Drew (drewlynn) | 63 comments Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handlin..."


I think Tonya really threw herself into the new society. At the stops, she rushed off the train with items to barter so the family would be fed. I haven't started the Arrival chapter yet so my perception may change.

Yuri also seems to be throwing himself into the new way of life but, as Greg says above, he is first and foremost a doctor. His main concern is for the people around him who need his help so he seems a little removed from the day to day struggle.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 5 comments I agree that Tonya adjusts more quickly, she comes across as the practical one. I felt that Yuri finds it hard to accept how political reality corrupts the idealistic view he had of the world and how it should be.

Train to the Urals was my favourite section of the book - the descriptions of the conscripts, and how they all cleared the line.


message 9: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) | 140 comments I agree that Yuri seems to be a bit removed, he's the observer of things. And maybe that is his training as a doctor, that's what they do right - observe and then put the pieces together in a diagnosis. I also feel like doctors are generally okay in these societies where there is upheaval. There are always sick and hurt people and doctors treat them no matter what, so there is always a place for them in a society. I'm reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena right now as well, and one of the main characters is a doctor, and she's not doing well in this collapsing society, but she has work and some respect.

I also agree that Tonya is super practical, and even during the packing of the Moscow home, she's setting aside things that the family will need for barter/trade. I feel like between the two of them they will make a fine pair, a family that will be okay.


Andrea (tasseled) | 189 comments I love the part where Zhivago feels like screaming to people that the salvation is not in the loyalty to uniforms, but in the freedom from them. I think it's a powerful statement that puts him firmly in the anti-revolutionary camp. I don't think he is particularly against the equality of classes and distribution of wealth, but he hates seeing his county torn in a Civil War. In his opinion the Reds are going about it wrong, relying too much on brutal force and fear.


MichelleCH (lalatina) | 41 comments Jen wrote: "I agree that Yuri seems to be a bit removed, he's the observer of things. And maybe that is his training as a doctor, that's what they do right - observe and then put the pieces together in a diagn..."
I agree Jen. I think it is his training. He can triage and doesn't get ruffled in an emergency. Tonya is very practical packing items to trade and getting ready to start a vegetable garden once they arrive.


Dianne | 9 comments Greg wrote: "Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in par..."


did the movie spoil the book for you? I am alway SO hesitant to watch the movies for books because I can never think of them in the same way again


Dianne | 9 comments Drew wrote: "Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in par..."


I think in so many ways Dr. Z witnesses the atrocities around him but in insulated. Not completely, of course, but much more than others


Dianne | 9 comments Andrea wrote: "I love the part where Zhivago feels like screaming to people that the salvation is not in the loyalty to uniforms, but in the freedom from them. I think it's a powerful statement that puts him firm..."

spot on comment Andrea, I agree!


Dianne | 9 comments Jen wrote: "I agree that Yuri seems to be a bit removed, he's the observer of things. And maybe that is his training as a doctor, that's what they do right - observe and then put the pieces together in a diagn..."

do you recommend Constellation?


message 16: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 63 comments Dianne wrote: "did the movie spoil the book for you? I am alway SO hesitant to watch the movies for books because I can never think of them in the same way again."

I think I mentioned before that most of what I thought I remembered from my previous read of this book was actually from the movie. I just noticed that my public library has a copy of the movie so I may try to watch it this summer. Probably on some blisteringly hot day when winter in the Urals sounds pleasant.


Danielle | 31 comments Dianne wrote: "A few questions on this section:

1. How do you think the Zhivagos will adjust to the concept of a classless society, with no distinctions between rich and poor? How is Tonya in particular handlin..."


I think that it is clear that Tonya is going to struggle with the lack of class distinction, I think it has been her whole identify and it is suddenly gone here in this part of the country, more so than in Moscow because there even with the class line getting wiped away she was already known and established so she would still be more likely to be treated as she had. However, she is now in a new area where she is not established, plus the bad family connection, so they are not going to show her the same deference and respect. I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out, you get a sense of her attitude with the shock she has that they have real tea and read sugar, a luxury item in a time of war.


message 18: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) | 140 comments Dianne wrote: "Jen wrote: "I agree that Yuri seems to be a bit removed, he's the observer of things. And maybe that is his training as a doctor, that's what they do right - observe and then put the pieces togethe..."

Hi Dianne - sorry for the delay in replying here. I would recommend it, but I would also warn that it is devastating. The story is amazing and complex and just perfectly woven, but it is also absolutely brutal. I felt beat up by the book, but I do think it's worth reading, just take a strong stomach with you.


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