Get help from the best in academic writing.

The Message of Hate in Babi Yar

The Message of Hate in Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Babi Yar

There are very few people in the world who are willing to go against the popular trends and do what they feel in their hearts is correct. But Yevgeny Yevtushenko is one of those people. In his poem Babi Yar, he tells the story of the modern persecution of the Jews, focusing on atrocities like those of the massacre at Babi Yar and the pogroms at Beilostok, and also the general anti-Semitism that killed men like Dreyfus and pervades the entire Russian people. The poem uses many literary devices, such as graphic imagery and contrasts, while painting a very clear picture of the scenes of pure horror.

Babi Yar is written in many different voices, all of which, however, have the same message. The author starts off with his ownperspective, then goes on and describes certain people in modern Jewish history whose lives will forever be remembered as symbols of the time. At the end of the poem the author comes back and speaks in his own voice, yet this time he delivers a message to his people about how they have committed a large number of these crimes against the Jews, yet think that such actions are pure and good for Russia. By switching from the voices of those who were so afflicted by the persecution to a voice of accusation, the author effectively points out how foolish the arguments of the Russians are when they try to point out any validity in killing millions of Jews.

The poem starts out with a description of the ravine at Babi Yar. However, all it says is that there is nothing to describe. It calls the steep ravine, which is the grave sight of one hundred thousand people, the only memorial that is there. This frightens the author, because the massivenes…

… middle of paper …

…taphor for bad times. So the author contrast the two seasons of winter and spring showing how right now hatred is keeping everyone in winter, but once there is peace then spring can start and life will get better.

The rest of the poem focuses on what the Russian people must do to change their attitude about Jews. First the author criticizes them for acting so shamelessly, and then he says that Jews must be accepted by all Russians who can honestly call themselves that. This is compounded when it says that one can truly be a Russian only when he undergoes the same treatment that the Jews go through, only when they experience the same type of hatred. This final statement is a reversal of the general view of the Russian people, and it reaffirms how Yevgeny Yevtushenko is a person who is not afraid to go against the popular opinion in order to make life better.

Hate Exposed in Babi Yar

Hate Exposed in Babi Yar

Babi Yar, a poem written by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, tells the story of the Nazi invasion into a small part of Russia, in which, throughout the duration of World War II, over one-hundred thousand Jews, Gypsies and Russian POW’s were brutally murdered. However, what is unique about this particular perspective is that the narrator is not a Jew, but a mere observer who is aghast at the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust. It is through allusions, as well as other literary devices, that Yevtushenko elucidates caustically the absurdities of the hatred that caused the Holocaust, in addition to the narrator’s identification with the Jews and their history of oppression.

Perhaps, the most effective literary device used in “Babi Yar” is the allusion. The first clear allusion seen in the poem is the one concerning Egypt(line 6). This reference harks back to the Jews’ enslavement in Egypt before they become a nation. In line 7, the narrator makes reference to how so many Jews perished on the cross. The reason for these initial allusions in the first section is clear. Yevtushenko is establishing the history of the Jewish people, being one of oppression, prejudice, and innocent victims. The next illusion in the poem is a reference to the Dreyfus Affair, a more modern display of irrational and avid anti-Semitism. It is in the Dreyfus affair that an innocent man is accused of espionage and is sent to jail for more than ten years, notwithstanding an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to his innocence, simply because he is a Jew.

Yevtushenko uses these allusions to lead up to his referral to a boy in Bielostok who is murdered by the Russian common-f…

… middle of paper …

…ranscend race, religion, color, and sex, and involves the whole of the human race. Yevtushenko depicts powerfully the tragedy of the absurdity of the long based ill-founded hatred that many people feel towards the Jewish people as a whole. In addition, the narrator speaks to each reader as if he is a Jew, not in the sense of having gone through the experience, but rather in the sense of being a part of the remembering process, part of the humane society which feels a moral obligation to recognize what took place and to learn from that experience, lest humanity be condemned to repeat the unthinkable. Perhaps, it is most appropriate that Yevtushenko concludes the poem with the ironic charge of saying that only when all of the anti-Semitic and hate based people are hated and “spit on”, can the narrator truly be a “Russian”, the standard for true humanity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.