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TYURINíS STORY Summary
On the way back to the work site, Ivan picks up a piece of metal, which he hides away. Later, he will shape the metal into a knife. When he enters the shed, he spies Tyurin sitting close to the fire, eating his mush in comfort. The other prisoners are huddled together trying to stay warm until they hear the signal to return to work. They are pleased because Tyurin has told them that he has managed to get them more rations for the next five days. Ivan borrows a cigarette from one of the Estonians and sits down with the others to smoke it. He kindly gives the butt of the cigarette to the deaf Senka to smoke.
When Tyurin is through eating, he begins to talk about his past. In 1930, he ran away from home and joined the Red Army. Later, the authorities interrogated him, and when they found that he was a member of the landed middle class, they charged him with deserting his family. He was thrown out of the army and sent home. To keep from starving on the way, he collected and sold some junk, earning enough money to buy two loaves of bread. He managed to board a train with the help of a girl, who hid him under her coat; she allowed Tyurin to share her train compartment, along with seven other female students. Although he finally reached home, Tyurin did not stay for long. This time he left with his younger brother. Shortly afterward, he was arrested by Russian officials and sent to prison and later to a labor camp.
This section reveals the past of Tyurin, the boss of Ivanís gang. In 1930, he left home as a young man to join the Red Army. Later he was unfairly kicked out of the army because the officials found that he was the son a kulak, a landed member of the middle class that was disfavored by the government. They sent Tyurin away with nothing, and he had to collect and sell junk in order to buy food to survive. Then a young girl helped him to get home on the train. Ivan, however, did not stay for long. When he left the second time, he was soon arrested and sent to prison. It is obvious that Tyurin, like many of the other prisoners in the camp, has been unjustly punished by the Russian Army; his only crime was belonging to the wrong family. In spite of his unfair treatment, Tyurin has not grown bitter and treats his prisoners fairly. As a result, the members of his gang respect him.
Ivanís resourcefulness is again seen in this chapter. On his way back to the work site, he is excited to find a spare piece of metal, which he picks up and hides. He believes he can fashion the metal into a knife, just as he has fashioned a spoon out of some steel wire. His kindness is also seen when he shares the butt of his cigarette with Senka.