Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler: the Motivations, Goals, and Fears of the Russian Communists – Book Report/Review Example

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The paper " Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler: the Motivations, Goals, and Fears of the Russian Communists" is a good example of a book report on history. This novel is about Nicholas Rubashov and other party leaders who were executed because of their loyalty to the party and unbelief in counter-revolutionary. The book gives an overview of how political parties pay their gratitude to those who have served them diligently for over thirty years. More so, the leader of the party shows how one can stoop so low as to degrade a human being.

The story purposes to show historical and political engagements in the 1930s because the novel’ s setting is in the tumultuous Soviet Union. It is also a refreshing story of the human spirit and, therefore, from a personal point of view, the story tells the source of history politically. In a humorous fashion, disabled citizens face everyday prejudices, with long-reaching effects on their life through preconceived societal ironies and inaccurate judgments. The prehistoric times saw the origin of Russian collectivism. Here, people were trying to maintain their existence in a harsh environment where they needed to band together to survive.

Individualism, on the other hand, emerged in the United States and the rest of Europe. Culturally, Russia never experienced the Renaissance, which gave emphasis to individual potential and creativity. Religiously, the Russians unlike Western Europe where the emphasis was on individualism did not experience Reformation. Politically, it has always been under the rule of authoritarian and closed to outside contact. The communal mindset of Russians is that of egalitarianism, cheating concerns, and dependency climate. It is evident in the novel “ Darkness at Noon” as told through Rubashov. According to Caute David, Koestler invented a powerful force called the ‘ grammatical fiction’ and it represented a shadow (Doppelganger).

This is because it reversed Rubashov’ s normal thought processed. It is also an ironic description of the ‘ I’ , the first person singular, the self, which the party holds to be of no account (62). In the novel Darkness at Noon, Koestler allows Rubashov to be aware of the betrayal to himself and millions of others because he failed to recognize the existence of ‘ grammatical fiction. ’ It was during the beginning of his solitary confinement that he starts doubting the infallibility of the Communist regime and begins to view himself as an independent entity from the Party.

He's pulling away from Communism is evident during his first hearing where he asserts his view saying: “ Your argument is somewhat anachronistic. ” During the times when he was a follower of the Communist regime, they were accustomed to using the plural we’ and avoided the first singular person. However, after being imprisoned, his form of speech lost his usual habits of we’ and started asking himself questions that would help in redefining the word we’ .

The point to understand is that apart from the Party, Rubashov is no longer functioning as a part of the Communist unit, but as an individual. Under the doctrine of the Communists, the individual is referred to as a piece of a larger system, and that is why the vocabulary I’ was replaced by we’ because it represented the Party.


Berkowitz, Roger. Approaching Infinity: Dignity in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. Philosophy and Literature, October 2009. Web

Caute, David. Politics and the Novel during the Cold War. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2010. Print.

Koestler, Arthur. Darkness at Noon. New York: Bantam Books, 1968. Translated by Daphne Hardy. First published in 1941. Print.

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