The Village Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Derevnya, 1910 (English translation, 1923)

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Social

Time of work: Early twentieth century

Locale: Russia

Characters DiscussedTikhon Ilitch Krasoff

Tikhon Village, TheIlitch Krasoff (TIH-khon ihl-YIHCH krah-SOHF), a dram-shop keeper and an entrepreneur. He is bitter because his illegitimate child is killed accidentally and his wife cannot bear him any children. When his crops fail because of bad weather, he turns to drink. Little better than a brute, he is sensually aroused by The Bride, who does not respond but who finally impassively endures his crude seduction. He believes all people are like himself and judges them accordingly.


Rodka (ROHD-kuh), one of the peasants on Tikhon’s estate. He beats his wife cruelly, causing his master to fear him.

The Bride

The Bride, Rodka’s beautiful wife. She poisons her brutal husband and later becomes Kuzma Krasoff’s housekeeper. Her employer feels sorry for her because of the life she has led. Later, she marries another peasant, but without expectation of any happiness.

Kuzma Ilitch Krasoff

Kuzma Ilitch Krasoff (kooz-MAH), Tikhon’s brother, a poet. He and Tikhon work together as peddlers but eventually quarrel and go their separate ways. After many years, Kuzma returns and becomes overseer of his brother’s estate at Durnovka. Although he is uneducated, he fulfills a lifelong dream by seeing a volume of his poetry published. He regards his life as a failure because he has not devoted it entirely to poetry. He believes Russia’s troubles are all caused by a lack of education.

BibliographyConnolly, Julian. Ivan Bunin. Boston: Twayne, 1982. An analytical survey of Bunin’s major works, with a special emphasis on the evolution of Bunin’s views on human existence. Examines the treatment of Russian society in The Village against the background of Bunin’s perceptions on the inevitable decline and fall of major cultures and civilizations.Kryzytski, Serge. The Works of Ivan Bunin. The Hague: Mouton, 1971. The first monograph on Bunin published in English. Contains a detailed description of Bunin’s work and its critical reception. Compares Bunin’s treatment of Russian peasant life in The Village to that found in the work of his contemporaries.Marullo, Thomas G. “Ivan Bunin’s Derevnja: The Demythologization of the Peasant.” Russian Language Journal 31, no. 109 (1977): 79-100. Outlines the way in which Bunin’s exploration of Russian village life contrasts with traditional portraits of the peasantry in Russian literature.Poggioli, Renato. The Art of Ivan Bunin. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1953. Assesses Bunin’s place in Russian and world literature. Its examination of The Village draws attention to the structure of the work and to the relationships that Bunin establishes among the central characters.Woodward, James B. Ivan Bunin: A Study of His Fiction. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980. A stimulating discussion of Bunin’s work that analyzes the role that nature plays in Bunin’s fiction. Also focuses on the way that human attitudes toward nature shape the experience of Bunin’s characters.
Categories: Characters