Monday, December 12, 2016

Is There a Tiny Fragment?!?

This quote comes after a particularly disturbing and depressing description of life in the Soviet Union in early 20th century:
``Not all of me shall die.'' Shulubin whispered. ``Not all of me shall die.''
He must be delirious.
Kostogolov groped for the man's hot hand lying on the blanket. He pressed it lightly. ``Aleksi Filippovich,'' he said, ``you're ging to live! Hang on, Aleksi Filippovich!''
``There's a fragment, isn't there? ... Just a tiny fragment,'' he kept whispering.
It was then it struck Oleg that Shulubin was not delirious, that he's recognized him and was reminding him of their last conversation before the operation. He had said, ``Sometimes I feel quite distinctly that what is inside me is not all of me. There's something else, sublime, quite indestructible, some tiny fragment of the universal spirit. Don't you fell that?'' pp. 482-3, Cancer Ward, Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Is this hope or illusion? I believe Solzhenitsyn leaves it up to each of us, readers, to decide on our own.

I have felt the lack of trust and sense of betrayal described in the following very acutely:
... Cancer was a front-parlour subject, but it wasn't in the same class as a broken leg or a heart attack or even a death. It was apart, obscene almost, like a scandal; it was something you brought upon yourself.
Other people think that too, but in different ways. Rennie used to think it herself. Sexual repression. Couldn't act out anger. The body, sinister twin, taking its revenge for whatever crimes the mind was supposed to have committed on it. Nothing has prepared her for her own outrage, the feeling that she'd been betrayed by a close friend. She'd given her body swimming twice a week, forbidden it junk food and cigarette smoke, allowed it a normal amount of sexual release. She'd trusted it. Why then had it turned against her?  pp. 73-4, Bodily Harm, Margaret Artwood

In fact, there is a close, and yet obscure, connection between trust (faith?) and that tiny fragment inside ...

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