Discussion on extract from Cancer Ward

Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

General consensus about the text:
 There were mixed emotions about the text, although the plot of the story was a tad cliché, it
still fulfilled the role of a good read. As the cliché acted as a contrast to communist soviet
 Everyone agreed that there was some pity felt for the main character.
 The character’s personalities were all enjoyable, and it was interesting to watch them grow
and develop.

First Topic: The main character
 The main character in this extract was an important, wealthy and powerful Russian man.
 Diagnosed with a cancer.
 Although he is a powerful man, this scares him, becomes more superstitious.
 Tries to use his wealth and power to get better healthcare and fails.
 The hospital makes him feel mortal
 Although he doesn’t have the nicest personality, we all empathised with this character.

Second topic: How the text is a contrast to communism in Russia
 The whole text really acts as a contrast to communism in Russia.
 The main character may have worked hard to get where he is today, so maybe should be
able to use his wealth for an advantage.
 Russian expressions in this text emphasise this.

Third Topic: Doctors coming across as powerful
 Although there aren’t many moments in this text that involve doctors, it is interesting to see
how they are portrayed when they are involved.
 The main character goes into a lot of detail when describing the doctor in his opening scene.
 We agreed that this was to emphasise the power and effect the doctor had on him and also
how it affected him.


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