During the past few weeks I have been reading the autobiography: The Persecutor, by Sergei Kourdakov. Which is about the author Kourdakov’s life in Soviet Russia. Early on in Kourdakov’s life he learns about the concept of communism, thanks to his upbringing in the State run Children’s home. He was also highly ambitious early on and rose the ladder quickly, in the terms of communism, thanks to his belief that the strongest rose on top. Even at one point in his life Kourdakov was hired to persecute Christians, which plays an important role in his life. Throughout the book Kourdakov uses many contrasts to describe the stories in his life, which give very detailed descriptions. I will be writing about two of the contrasts, and I will also determine if his use of contrasts strengthen his narrative.
The first contrast I will be writing about was in Chapter 13 of the book. This particular life story is about Kourdakov and his men who were assigned to break up a group of believers(Christians), who were going to have a baptism for the new converts. Because Kourdakov and his men had plenty of time when they arrived at the location(a beautiful forestry area with a river), they had a picnic. The atmosphere was peaceful and pleasant. But this peacefulness did not last for long though. When the believers arrived at the location, Kourdakov and his men sprung into action and attacked and broke up those believers, changing the scene from peaceful to chaotic; with the woods being filled with screaming and shouting.
The second contrast and the last I will be writing about isn’t in an exact chapter but I believe it is a pretty important example. The leaders of the Soviet Union, at least in Kourdakov’s description of them, did not have faith in communism or what they pushed for whatsoever. For example when Kourdakov’s youth league(which he was the leader of), was singled out as the best in the area, he had to give a speech on it. During this he was able to speak with a communist leader named Orlov, who was very drunk. Orlov was rambling on how bad and terrible communism was, even saying that it was a curse! But the leaders of the believers or Christians on the other hand had full faith in what they were leading for, even when they were being persecuted severely for what they were doing and believing, they had full faith. The contrast in this is the fact that the leaders of the Soviet Union did not believe or fully believe in what they were pushing for or leading for, but the leaders of the believers believed fully in what they were leading towards, hence a contrast
But the most important question is; does Kourdakov’s use of contrasts strengthen his narrative? A complete yes! Kourdakov is a great writer, and so far his autobiography has been very interesting and entertaining to read(never a dull moment), and his use of contrasts helps him keep the autobiography entertaining while keeping the narrative strong, which is rare in other autobiographies.