How Ratsushinskaya Depicts Her Suffering in Her Poetry
Irina Ratsushinkaya was born in Ukrainian on the 4th March 1954.
She grew up in Soviet Russia and from an early age rebelled against
the strict regime unable to adopt to lack of freedom. In Russia
freedom of speech was also forbidden, as there was a great threat to
the Russian Soviet if people started expressing political heresies.
This was hard for Ratushinskaya as she was a poet, influenced by the
fact that she loved literature and art. However, she believed in
having the right to speak her own mind and her poetry played a big
part in her life. Ratushinskaya was eventually arrested for writing
poetry, as she still persisted in fighting the strict regime. In the
Soviet hard labour camp where she was imprisoned Ratsushinskaya
suffered beatings, force-feeding and solitary confinement in brutal
freezing conditions and became so gravely ill that many feared that
she would not survive her sentence. She once said, "The calling of a
poet is to speak the truth, even though it may be a subjective truth."
Which shows her determination to survive the regime, and how it would
never make her stop writing her poetry.
Irina Ratushinskaya has written many poems, most of which portray her
will to survive and also the torture she went through in the camp. Two
examples of her poetry that show this well are, 'I will Travel Through
the land' and 'I will Live and Survive'. These two poems are different
as they explain different aspects of being in a labour camp, however
they both depict suffering and focus on some of the same themes.
In 'I will Travel Trough the Land', Irina Ratushinskaya uses her
emotions to tell the reader about getting moved from one labour camp
to another. Whereas in the poem 'I will Live and Survive'
Ratushinskaya displays a more physical side to the labour camp giving
the readers an insight into the violence she suffered. Although in
both poems she uses strong descriptive words to explain the ordeal she
went through. For example, in the poem 'I will Live and Survive' her
agony is shown when she explains, 'How my head was slammed against a
trestle,' The use of the words 'slammed' and 'trestle' are violent and
highly descriptive. As a result they add impact, capturing the reader
by explaining the agony she went through.
Similarly in the poem 'I will Travel through the Land', the use of a
strong descriptive verb to display Ratushinkaya's suffering can be
seen when she writes, 'They who have been wrenched away from us for
The word 'wrenched' creates a powerful image of heartache, suggesting
that the people she once knew have been taken away from her without
her making the decision.
In both, 'I will Live and Survive' and also in 'I will Travel through
the Land' the titles of the poems represent optimism...