Kourdakov’s Use of Contrast

English essay #6

For English I have been reading the autobiography of Sergei Kourdakov. He was man who escaped from the communist party to Canada. Kourdakov is a good writer and he uses contrast a lot in his book to strengthen his story. In this essay I will look at some contrasts in Kourdakov’s autobiography and explain how they help his narrative.

When Kourdakov was in the Soviet Union he was involved with the KGB. He told a story of how he and his team were tasked with beating up and arresting Christians as they were baptizing people. He and his team went to the river early and made a holiday of it before the believers came. Kourdakov describes the beauty and serenity of the spot. Then he describes the violence and confusion that happened during the arrest. The contrast between the beauty of the place and what happened there adds power to his description of the beatings.

Kourdakov was an important youth leader in the Soviet Union and he went to an awards banquet that celebrated the communists of the future. He was given a reward for his service and an important leader complemented him on his idealism. Later he was called to the room where the important leaders were eating. The food was much better and all the leaders were drunk. The guy who had praised him just a little while ago was denouncing communism. He said that anyone who believed in communism was an idiot and called it the worst curse of mankind. There is a great contrast between what the communist leader said in public and what he said when he was drunk. This contrast showed Kourdakov that the leaders of communism didn’t believe in communism, they were hypocrites who were using communism for their own personal gain. This changed Kourdakov, it caused him to lose faith in communism. After that, he made it his goal to get to the top of communism. Not because he believed in it, but because it was better for him.

Since Kourdakov was involved with the KGB he came in contact with the leaders of Christianity. There is a contrast here between the leaders of Christianity and the leaders of communism. He was impressed with the Christians, he could see that they were not fools as he had originally thought. He saw that they really believed what they said they believed and were selfless. But the communist leaders were selfish and didn’t believe what they taught. One Christian girl really impressed him. She was beat up at a meeting that the KGB raided and then at next raid Kourdakov saw her again. They beat her even worst this time. Then at the next raid they saw her again! One of his men protected her because he realized that there was something different about her. Kourdakov agreed.

Kourdakov is very good at using contrast in his stories to add power to them.


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