The Realistic/Surrealistic Attitudes of the Characters Towards the Disaster in “Chernobyl Prayer” Cover Image

“Çernobil Duasi”Nda, Anlati Kahramanlarinin Felaket Karşisindaki Gerçek/Gerçeküstü Tutumlari”
The Realistic/Surrealistic Attitudes of the Characters Towards the Disaster in “Chernobyl Prayer”

Author(s): Ayşe İLKER
Subject(s): Social history, Health and medicine and law, Human Ecology, Environmental interactions, Post-War period (1950 - 1989)
Published by: Celal Bayar Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü
Keywords: “Chernobyl Prayer;” narrative; attitude; real-surreal;

Summary/Abstract: Svetlana Aleksiyeviç, who was granted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015, tried to reveal the vital and social consequences of the explosion that took place at the reactor of Chernobly Nuclear Power Plant in 26 April 1986, through that narratives of the first hand witnesses of the disaster. Four reactors were active during the day of the explosion. The construction of the two reactors was still going on. In 25 April 1986 the fourth reactor was taken under maintanence. Engineers and technicians began an experiment for the purpose of taking precaution against a power failure. The experiment began at 23:00 at midnight to be realized on the night of 26 April, at 01:23. This was the beginning of the nuclear disaster. 485 villages and towns disappeared after the explosion in Belarus with 10 million population. One out of every five person in Belarus lives in the radiation contaminated area. This makes a number of 2 milion and 100 thousand ppeople and 700 thousand of them are children. The writer interviewed the engineers, technicians, workers and educators who worked in the Chernobyl Plant and their families and turned these interviews into artistic assets through “narration” technique. The ways in which the characters interpret the disaster they experienced, their thoughts upon the abrubt change in their lives, their undescribable and hopeless wait against the exhaustion of their family members, partners and children beside their own exhaustion and physical pain were narrated through the first person point of view. In these narratives, which carry the burden of a tragedy and perhaps something beyond a tragedy, the characters sometimes accept the disaster “within realistic terms” and sometimes they get closer to a more “surreal” discourse and they think of themselves as they are in a dream or in an illusion. This conflict is the most important effect of the radiation. In the narratives everything is questioned and addressed including the socialist system, technology and the culture, daily and and formal relations, the simple and the aesthethic aspects of life. This shows that the accounts of life are revealed by the individuals of a community who suffered from the heaviest burden of the most devestating disaster of the 20th century. In this essay, basically Aleksiyevich’s way of expressing this disaster through these narratives is going to be focused on and the theoretical basis of the preferred narrative technique is going to be discussed. Besides the real and surreal aspects of the attitudes of the trauma victims is going to be highlighted.

  • Issue Year: 16/2018
  • Issue No: Special
  • Page Range: 221-236
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Turkish