YEVGENY ONEGIN

Thought of today

Relationships based on falsehood are like houses built with their foundations in mud

As I was preparing to move my stuff to the bigger bedroom in my place I stumbled upon a book I read five years back; Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin( one of the great Russian Poets). This book made a turning point in my outlook on life and human relations.A brief summary of the story:

This book is about a story written in poetry form. The leading character is a ruthless youth (Onegin) who cares about nothing in life but his own pleasures. He inherits an estate from a dying uncle and moves to the country to take care of his property. While there; he meets Tatyana, a 17 year old, naïve country girl whose experience in life does not exceed the sentimental books she reads. Tatyana falls for him immediately, though she is too shy to reveal her emotions. With her optimism for love she did not sense that Onegin changed women as he changed his shirts everyday, and that he did not think for once that women were worthy of anything but a one night stand. So she sends him a lengthy letter expressing her passion. And although Onegin admires her skills in writing, he rejects her arrogantly and burns the letter. He befriends her sister’s fiancé, and over a dinner gathering he insults her sister by trying to convince the fiancé that women are not worthy of marriage and that they would betray their beloved as soon as another worthy figure appears, and therefore he starts flirting with Tatyana’s sister to prove his point. The fiancé gets aggravated and they get in a fight which ends in the fiancé’s death through a duel. Onegin leaves the country and years back he meets Tatyana again in Moscow. Tatyana is now married to a prince who is much older than her, and she holds a high position in the Russian society. And now that Onegin is older and more mature he perceives Tatyana with another view; he full heartedly falls for her love, and writes letters to win her love again. Tatyana who lived on the hope that Onegin would love her one day and would come back for her, and who also marries an older man under family pressures, sees no way out of her dilemma, but to reject him. End of a very sad story.

The reader might think after reading the summary above that this is just another love story; but it’s actually not. With his unique skills in poetry writings, Alexander Pushkin revealed a mass of complex human relationships dealing with psychology, history, and most importantly the complex definition of love. It gives an answer to all the whys and whats and hows in a relationship. The part which affected me the most was Tatyana’s rejection to the man whom she lived for his love; do you know how much that hurts? It hurts even more than being rejected.

To the poetry lovers and to the ones that are suffering in a relationship, I strongly recommend this book, it sure is a must read.

Here are some verses of how Onegin expressed his definition of love for a woman:

“The less we love her, when we woo her,

The more we please a woman’s heart

And are the surer to undo her

And snare her with beguiling art.”

Here are some verses of Tatyana when onegin knelt at her feet begging for her love:

“I weep now. But, if an abiding

Thought of your Tanya* haunts you still

Know this: your stinging words, your chiding

And your discourse, so stern, so chill,

Were better, could the choice be offered,

Than this insulting passion proffered,

Than all these letters, all these tears.

Then, you showed reverence for my years;

At least you had some pity for me

For my young, girlish reverie:

But now! What brings you here? I see

You kneeling at my feet, before me

How can you, with your mind and heart,

Stoop to play this ignoble part?”

*Tanya: Tatyana

Based on a translation by Oliver Elton

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DJ
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 15:03:00

    I think the book sounds not only interesting but beautiful. I have already added it to my list of must reads. I will get it on my very next “english” reading materials shopping spree!

    Reply

  2. AyyA
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 15:23:00

    Do that DJ, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy every minute of it; I read it twice and planning to read it again soon.

    Reply

  3. Sarpanch
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 15:41:00

    A captivating story. Would like to get my hands on it someday.

    Reply

  4. AyyA
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 16:28:00

    Welcome to my humble quarters Sarpanch, and I hope you repeat the visit for more milk and honey.

    Reply

  5. Sarpanch
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 19:00:00

    I sure will, dear. 🙂

    Reply

  6. Purgatory
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 22:06:00

    Nice summary, I love russian literature, some of the best stuff ever written, complex and natural, just like you I guess 🙂

    Reply

  7. AyyA
    Jan 12, 2005 @ 22:34:00

    Oh Purgy buddy so nice of you, I’m so flattered

    Reply

  8. shady q80
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 02:03:00

    Thanks for the spoiler 🙂

    you may find an online version here. Apparently it was made into an opera by Tchaikovsky. There is also a movie.

    peace.

    P.S. Without falsehoods there can be no love. Alas how can one show appreciation for that which is imperfect. Thus, love is mutual falsehood.

    Reply

  9. AyyA
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 03:14:00

    Shady buddy
    Thanx for chipping in, I really appreciate it, I knew about the opera, but not the movie, I will try to get the movie through internet. But I’m sure that it’s nothing like reading the book.
    And about your definition of love I wish I can understand it that way, it would have lifted a lot of hurdles in my life.

    Reply

  10. AyyA
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 03:23:00

    And btw, this is why I usually fall for the bastards 😉

    Reply

  11. Sarpanch
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 09:54:00

    Shady Q80,
    You did a good thing by providing us with the link.
    Thanks. 🙂

    Reply

  12. Beatnik
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 14:52:00

    This is a very important thing you did by mentioning this book and hopefuly others too. And as you said it is not a only about the love story though the whole setting is important to understand why poeple at that time responded to feelings they way did in the story. Now the importance here is for us in the now, to understand why all of us react the way we do towards love and loved ones putting in consideration our settings.
    You said somethinginteresting, that you find th bastards no? you will be surprised how a bastard does not stay a bastard, sometimes it is just a front. Maybe poeple are not as deep as they used to be am not sure, but from personal experience I found that men are still as deep and as complex as in the time of Book, just in a different manner. Also one clue if a guy is not deep at all , is when he drops you like a hot potatoe as soon as he senses there is a possibility you can challange his mind and body.
    Another thing, don;t you just love the way they spoke about thier feelings in an abstract way, and in musical sounding sentences?
    I’d like to ask you about yoga too do you mind?

    Reply

  13. Jewaira
    Jan 13, 2005 @ 15:30:00

    Interesting summary of the book Rabab. Your statement about the difficulty of rejecting the person you love is very true. It must be one of the hardest things to do

    Reply

  14. AyyA
    Jan 14, 2005 @ 01:53:00

    Beatnik
    This book portrays love through a young man’s eyes who perceives love as only pleasure. And through a naïve girl eyes who is so taken by literature, and her innocence. And through a young woman’s eyes waiting for her beloved to come back and be the person she imagined him to be, and blinded by the fact that he was just another play boy. It also shows her agony to accept what fate brings, and still live on the memory of her beloved. All in all; it talks about love from all different angles. And yes, I do go for the bastards unfortunately, and when they turn into angels it’s always too late.
    And about the yoga you can ask me anything sweetie, just shoot.

    Jewaira
    Rejecting someone you love I think is the hardest thing in a relationship especially when that person is offering his love on a silver platter, and you have waited all your life for him, you’d wish that he disappears from your life and let you be, and at the same time you’d have this longing that bleeds your guts and you’d wish you can have one moment back, but your pride…. Never mind.
    This is so beautifully displayed in this book, it makes you want to bundle yourself in a secluded place and see all the characters come to life.

    Reply

  15. Beatnik
    Jan 14, 2005 @ 09:30:00

    Thank you so much Rabab, can I add you to my msn? or email you whichever is more convinient to you!

    Reply

  16. AyyA
    Jan 14, 2005 @ 12:53:00

    Beatnik
    Please don’t hesitate to E-mail me, you have my e-mail posted on the blog, and this is another one just in case:
    rabkh@yahoo.com
    cheerez sweetie

    Reply

  17. Jelly Belly
    Jan 14, 2005 @ 17:30:00

    sounds like a very interesting book…you know we should have a little book club…I always loved that idea 🙂

    Reply

  18. AyyA
    Jan 14, 2005 @ 19:22:00

    Sounds like a great idea to me JB, and to make it practical; I sugest creating a separate blog and calling it the Cyber Book Club, where all the interested parties can e-mail me with the book they have in hand which they are willing to post about when they finish reading so I can make a list, and as soon as they post they’d also e-mail me so I can direct the rest to the blog through Q8Safat. What do you all think? You can chip in with valuable ideas as well.

    Reply

  19. Beatnik
    Jan 15, 2005 @ 09:33:00

    Am wit you Rabab

    Reply

  20. Drunk'n'Gorgeous
    Jan 15, 2005 @ 11:22:00

    Thanks for educating the ignorant 😛 I’ve been meaning to get my grubby little hands on Pushkin’s work but I’m too lazy but not anymore thanks to you. As for the book club idea, it sounds awesome 🙂

    Reply

  21. DJ
    Jan 15, 2005 @ 12:03:00

    This “bookworm” blog is a wonderful idea.

    Reply

  22. AyyA
    Jan 15, 2005 @ 12:14:00

    Beatnik, Drunk’n’Gorgeous and DJ
    As I was thinking all day yesterday about this idea, it occurred to me that having a group blog, dedicated solely for this purpose is a better idea; my next post( which is in the process of publishing) will be a brain storming session to reach the final decision.

    Drunk’n’Gorgeous
    Hey girl, where have you been? Glad to see you back, I missed you and hope everything is OK.

    Reply

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