"Pathetic, and yet I survive. Surely, my survival is punishment. That has it be it. This woman closes her eyes and she is gone. I wished for death since the first day, and yet I survive. Can it really be so hard to die?" Mr. Stalas, 318
"'You think nothing but yourself. If you want to kill yourself, what's keeping you?' I said. Silence sat between our stares.
'Fear,' he said." Lina Vilkas & Mr. Stalas 323
"There were only two possibile outcomes in Siberia. Success meant survival. Failure meant death. I wanted life. I wanted to survive." Lina Vilkas, 319
"'Our sense of humor,' said Mother, her eyes pooled with laughing tears. 'They can't take that away from us, right?'" Elena Vilkas, 125
Is it hard to die? Many fear death, hiding and dodging its grasp. They have said that we should be careful, for humans die easily. But is that really so? Some, who knock at the devil's doorstep, embrace death, but death is eluding. They claim it as punishment, but is it, instead, a sign? I chose these quotes because it describes the feelings of both Mr. Stalas and Elena. Mr. Stalas was a bitter man who sought death; he even threw himself off the truck, breaking his leg in the process, just to kill himself. Yet he survived. Elena, Lina's mother, had a family to support, to love, and to grow old with. She never gave up on life. But she died. I believe it's hard to die, not because of death itself, but what your leaving behind. Mr. Stalas finds death hard and scary because he would leave nothing. No mark, no family, nothing. To leave nothing would simply force you to acknowledge the fact that you have done nothing in your life, to acknowledge the fact that you wasted it. To leave nothing simple means that nobody would remember you. You will be swept away in time, your name disappearing along with the names of many. Forgotten.
Success. People love success, our lives revolve around it. But why?Would getting a "C" on the next test really kill you? To explore this concept we must first define "success". Some dictionaries define "success" as "the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like." But is amassing wealth, achieving high social postions, and receiving high honors really successful? Through this novel, I realized what true success meant: to survive another day. In our lives, we have but one goal, to live; either you fail that goal, to die, or you achieve success, to survive.
Prisons are places that chain you, deprive you of all freedom. Yet, not all of your freedom is taken, nor are you chained. I chose this quote because it described the idea of freedom. I believe, that prisons don't steal your freedom. Yes, being bound to a limited space is extremely inconvenient. But, we still have our freedom to smile, to laugh, to frown, and to cry. People can only steal our freedom if we let them affect us the way they want us to be affected. To stand strong with our spirit means you are free; you are free of their criticisms, you are free of their hate, and you are free to feel what you want to feel. Your captors can't change that.