God Sees the Truth but Waits
- Leo Tolstoy
Summary of God Sees the Truth but Waits
This is the story of a merchant named Ivan Aksionov, who is accused of another’s crime. On the way to a business trip, he is arrested for the killing and robbing another merchant, with whom he had stayed in the same hotel. He spends 26 years in jail. He keeps praying, hoping for justice some day. He gains respect from fellow prisoners. One day the real killer named Makar comes there. Ivan is angry but later forgives him. Ivan’s goodness finally forces Makar to confess. But Ivan dies before his release.
Theme of God Sees the Truth but Waits
The story shows the importance of faith to face all kinds of situations in life. The character of Aksionov suggests that prayers and forgiveness give us relief from troubles, but anger, revenge and ill feelings burden our soul.
Understanding the text
Answer these questions.
a. What bad habits did Aksionov have before his marriage?
Ans: He had a drinking habit before his marriage.
b. What can be the meaning of his wife’s dream?
Ans: Her dream suggests something bad is going to happen. Aksionov’s wife’s dream may be suggesting delay for years. .On the day of the business trip, she dreamed that his hair was grey on his return. Later he was trapped for a murder and spent 26 years in jail.
c. Why did Aksionov think of killing himself?
Ans: Aksionov thought of killing himself because he remembered his beautiful past. He remembered how he sat playing the guitar in the porch of the inn where he was arrested, all the twenty-six years of his prison life and how free from care he had been.
d. Why did Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant?
Ans: Makar confessed about killing the merchant because of regret. He was trying to escape from the jail. But Ivan saved him from the guards by not telling the truth. This made Makar feel bad for trapping a good man like Ivan.
e. Why doesn’t Aksionov wish to return to his family at the end of the story?
Ans: Aksionov doesn’t wish to return his family toward the finish of the story since he has gotten very old and weak. He has consumed his whole time on earth in jail without carrying out any wrongdoing.
Reference to the context
b. Describe Aksionov’s character.
Ans: The funny and carefree type of young Aksionov with a drinking habit becomes a responsible man and a successful mechant after marriage. He does not believe in superstitions. Therefore, he just ignores his wife’s bad dream about his future. But then the turn of fate brings a U-turn in his life, nature and character. After all hopes end, he falls in a resigned mood, putting faith in god and prayers. In jail he gains respect and popularity by the name ‘grandfather’. He also forgives the man for whose crime he had to spend 26 years of life in jail.
c. What is the theme of the story?
Ans: The story shows the importance of faith to face all kinds of situations in life. The character of Aksionov suggests that prayers and forgiveness give us relief from troubles, but anger, revenge and ill feelings burden our soul.
d. Which symbols are used in the story and what do they indicate?
Ans: Major Symbols and Indications:
|House and Shops||earthly possession/temporary things|
|Grey hair of Aksinov||suggesting delay for years|
|Prison||suffering and his eventual spiritual transformation /realization|
|The Lives of the Saints(Book)||Means of Transformation|
|fair-haired, curly-headed Aksinov||Youth|
The main symbols in this short story are Aksionov’s home, two shops and jail where he is condemned to hard work. His home and two shops address his family, his material belongings, and his natural undertakings. Aksionov is beginning to understand that he can presently don’t trust in any of the things he has relied upon in his life; he can’t rely upon his material abundance to demonstrate his honesty and tragically, he likewise can’t rely upon the lady he is hitched to for devotion in a period of extraordinary scarcity.
The actual jail is an image of his misery and his possible otherworldly change. When Aksionov understands that Makar was the person who outlined him for the vendor’s homicide, he endures every one of the psychological miseries of the violated. Makar is contacted to such an extent that he admits everything to Aksionov and asks for absolution. Through this basic demonstration of absolution, Aksionov is at long last ready to acquire harmony.
Reference beyond the text
a. What role does religion play in Aksionov’s life? How does he undergo a spiritual transformation in the story?
Ans: Religion plays a crucial role in Aksionov’s life. During his 26 years of detainment in Siberia Jail, his hair became white, his giddy character vanished, and his body started to debilitate; he never gave any indications of satisfaction and he often petitioned God.
While detained, he turned into a boot-creator, in this manner bringing in sufficient cash to purchase a book called The Lives of the Saints. He read this book at whatever point conceivable. On Sundays he played a conspicuous part in the strict administrations, and he sang in the ensemble of the jail church. The superintendents and gatekeepers liked his quietude, and different detainees respected him with deference, calling him “Granddad” and “The Saint.” In this way, he transformed into a saint.
b. What does the story tell us about the existence of unfair system of justice?
Ans: “God Sees the Truth, But Waits” tells us about the fundamental imperfection of the justice system, by which the innocent are often found guilty. This is not a story about institutional corruption, of a Les Misérables type situation, where the legal system itself is thoroughly unreasonable, given that Aksionov is found guilty of murder. This makes Tolstoy’s critique an all the more foundational one, relating to the fallibility of human justice itself.