"Early Spring" - a summary of the novel by Stefan Żeromski
"Early Spring", a synopsis of which you should know, is a work by Stefan Żeromski. The main character of the piece is Cezary Baryka. What is the novel about and what do the glass houses symbolize? Read on.
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1. "Early Spring" - summary with elaboration
The piece is a story of Cezary Baryka's (physical, social and political) maturation. The action is accompanied by a historical background (revolution in Russia, regaining independence by Poland, change of the social and political order).
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Cezary was born in Baku. His father, Seweryn Baryka, was a nobleman who had acquired wealth and a high official position in tsarist Russia. He provided a decent living for the family. In 1914 he was called up to the Russian army. He suffered numerous wounds. He secretly returned to Baku in 1918 to save his wife and son. He died on the way to Poland. Earlier he told Cezary about "glass houses".
The hero of the novel, Cezary, was a stormy period in the teenage years. He did not want to study, he blackmailed his mother. The woman loved her only son very much. She pampered him. She succumbed to it and let herself be guided. She did not turn away from him even when Caesary reported her to the revolutionary authorities. When she died, Cezary realized that he was wrong. He lived in extreme poverty.
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Cezary eventually reaches Poland, but finds nothing in it that his father told him. Poland is in chaos. Poverty surrounds him. He takes part in the Polish-Bolshevik war. During one of the battles, he saves Hipolit Wielosławski's life, who, as a gratitude, invites him to his estate in Nawłoci.
Cezary Baryka comes to Nawłocie, where he spends several months. Time seems to have stopped there. It is idyllic, peaceful. The manor house does not draw conclusions from the revolution sweeping Europe. Time is spent hunting, eating and flirting. The goldenrod is compared to the manor house depicted in "Pan Tadeusz". There is, however, something inappropriate and immoral about this. The inhabitants of the manor live carefree, when the peasants have nothing to eat a few houses away.
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Cezary returns to Warsaw, where he works for Szymon Gajowiec. He came from a peasant family, before the outbreak of World War I he was a clerk. When Poland regained independence, he was promoted to the position of a high official in the Ministry of Treasury. He is an elderly man who has never started a family. He was a great love of Jadwiga, Cezary's mother.
The ending of the novel is open-ended. Cezary Baryka leads the workers' crowd to the Belweder Palace. The reader does not know his further fate.
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2. Glass houses in Przedwiośń
The symbolic expression of dreams about a new reality in Poland is the myth of glass houses. It is also a symbol of lost illusions. Żeromski admitted that he did not appear in the book by accident. It is like a farewell to the ideological path chosen so far. It is a definitive parting with dreams of a new Poland.
Cezary Baryka will never see glass houses. Instead, his eyes see the poverty of Polish society. He sees the poor quarters of the workers and their homes.
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3. "Early Spring" as a political novel
Żeromski's novel is full of difficult questions that cannot be answered unequivocally. The author discusses the hopes of Poles and what country the reborn Republic of Poland has become. It does not take sides, on the contrary - it engages in polemics.
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"Przedwiośnie" was created in a very difficult time for Poland. Not only in social terms (unemployment rose, inflation raged, strikes multiplied), but also in political terms (clumsy governments changed quickly, politicians were primarily concerned with internal games).
A large group of people interpreted Żeromski's work as a call to revolution. In turn, the communist parties were very dissatisfied and began a campaign against the author.