The Madonnas of Leningrad - Study Guide Part 4, p. 61 - 80 Summary & Analysis

Debra Dean
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The Past - Hiding in the vast basement of the Hermitage, Marina, Viktor and Nadezhda, like the hundreds of other refugees from the German bombing raids go about their routines as well as they can. Narration describes Marina's gratitude to Viktor for taking her in when she was so politically dangerous (her parents having been arrested and presumably killed as political dissidents) and for educating her, but also describes her hatred of his emotional coldness and rigidity. Narration also describes the sparse nature of their food supplies, and how Marina pawned a pair of delicate gold and ruby earrings in order to by food. Eventually, Marina goes up into the museum and resumes work, moving "like a ghost past the blank rectangles [from which paintings have been removed for safekeeping] and describes by [memory] the pictures that hung inside them". She recalls a...

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