I was told by someone who recently read Who Is to Blame, “Being a woman in peasant Russia – Ugh!”
Couldn’t agree more. In order to be a female Russian peasant who’s content with her life, you’d have to:
- adore your in-laws since you share a one-room hut with all 12 of them.
- not take offense at wife-beating, a time-honored tradition.
- not mind that your voice is unheard at home or in your village.
- find it romantic to share your bed-of-straw with a guy who works in the fields all day and bathes every 2 weeks during the summer and monthly (at best) during the winter.
- delight in continuously being either pregnant or nursing.
- relish cooking. And pickling. And baking bread. And more bread. And slaughtering and plucking a chicken.
- appreciate that an evening working the spinning wheel provides a relaxing way to end the day.
- be an early riser so you can stoke the stove, shovel snow for a path to the barn, milk the cow, gather the eggs, breastfeed your infant, and get the breakfast kasha bubbling before you start your workday
- rise above feelings of rejection when, following Hubby’s death, your in-laws exercise their right to send you back to your birth family.