God Sees the Truth, But Waits – Leo Tolstoy
1. Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each, based on your understanding of the story.
a) Why did Aksionov’s wife stop him from going to the fair?
Ans: Aksionov’s wife saw a bad dream. It was a premonition of some impending harm coming to him. So, she dissuaded him from going to the fair.
b) Why was Aksionov’s wife disturbed to see the dream?
Ans: In the dream Aksionov’s wife saw him returning from the town with grey hair in place of his normal hair. This unusual sight made her perplexed.
c) What made Aksionov leave the inn before dawn?
Ans: Aksionov wanted to reach the town before the sun got hot. So, he decided to eave the in rather early.
d) What were the circumstances that led to Aksionov’s imprisonment?
Ans: The merchant with whom Aksionov spent the previous night had been found with his throat slit. Aksionov was the prime suspect for the crime, because circumstantial evidence went against him. He had left the inn unusually early, and more importantly, the blood-stained knife allegedly used in the murder was found hidden in his bag. With these two, the police assumed Aksionov to be the perpetrator of the crime.
e) Why did Aksionov give up sending petitions?
Ans: After a few of his fervent appeals proved to be futile, Aksionov gave up writing any more applications.
f) Why didn’t Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant?
Ans: Makar was secretive about his past deeds as he was immoral and timid by nature. So he did not disclose that he had killed the merchant.
g) Did Makar feel guilty when he heard Aksionov’s story?
Ans: Yes, Makar felt guilty when he heard Askionov’s story.
h) What made Aksionov think that Makar was the real murderer?
Ans: After hearing Aksionov’s account, Makkar began to be evasive and aloof. When Aksionov asked whether he knew the murderer, he replied rather emphatically that the person from whose bag the weapon was retrieved must be the culprit. He even argued that the innocence of the accused could only be upheld only if the placing of the knife in the baggage by the real murderer could be conclusively established. Makkar was speaking like the prosector rather than an ordinary listener of the story. Such stridency of Makkaer made Aksionov think that Makar was the real murderer.
i) What was Aksionov’s realization by the end of the story?
Ans: Aksinov’s faith in the God was bolstered many times after the story ended with the change of heart of Makar. He concluded that ‘God sees the truth, but waits.’
j) Why did Aksionov’s wife suspect him of involvement in the murder?
Ans: Aksionov’s wife discovered that the police had built a strong case against her husband. In exasperation, and overtaken by anguish, she confronted her husband with the awkward question about he being the murderer.
2. Answer the following questions in three or four sentences each.
a) Did the police officer have sufficient evidence to convict Aksionov?
Ans: Yes, the police officer had sufficient evidence to convict Aksionov. The fact that Aksionov left the inn too early, and the murder weapon was found to be in his possession pinned him to the crime.
b) What impact did the book “The Lives of Saints” have on Aksionov?
Ans: The book “The Lives of Saints” made him calm and sagacious. His fellow-prisoners respected him, and adoringly called him “Grandfather,” and “The Saint.” When they found themselves mired in rancor, they came to the ‘Saint’ for resolution of their differences.
c) Pick out the clues that convey that Makar Semeyonich recognized Aksionov.
Ans: At first, Semeyonich said that he once really had done something utterly wrong, but on that occasion, no one probed him further and he escaped detection. Later, when Semyonich got to know about Aksionov’s unfortunate past from other inmates, he slapped his own knee as a mark of rejoicing. Quite mockingly, he exclaimed that that was really wonderful. When Aksionov asked him whether he knew the murderer, he replied that it must have been the sameperson, in whose bag the knife was found. He argued that if the police has to be proved wrong, the real perpetrator would have to be caught. Such one-sided assertion are the clues that convey that Makar Semeyonich recognized Aksionov.
3. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of about 150 words each.
a) Compare and contrast the main characters, Aksionov and Makar Semeyonich, in the story.
Ans: Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov, the character around whom the story revolves, was an embodiment of simplicity, honesty, equanimity, and forgiveness. He bore his misfortune with grace and forbearance. He put his trust in God, and that enabled him to stay clear of bitterness and vengeance. Long years of his life were spent in jail, and his family was ravaged due to no fault of his. When the time came to exact a revenge from the man who had caused him so much of suffering, he became passive, and demonstrated rare forgiveness towards Semeyonich, his tormentor. In a nutshell, Aksinov was saintly person of outstanding moral character.
Makar Semeyonich, the devil of this story, was truly a hideous character. He was wicked in both mind and body. Althiugh he had committed a murder and sent an innocent person to jail, he suffered no remorse or regret. Towards Aksinov, he was both mischievous and arrogant. He planned to dig his way out of the jail, and was caught. Aksinov could have told the guards about it, and seen him beaten to pulp by them. But, Aksinov pardoned him. Markar escaped a calamity, but had no way to pay Aksinov back for his compassion.
b) How did Aksionov react when his wife suspected him?
Ans: When his wife confronted him with the question about his committing the murder, Aksinov was overwhelmed with grief, shame, and bewilderment. He had never expected that his dear and loving wife would ever suspect him of committing such a grievous offence. His wife’s question broke his heart and hurt him badly. He asserted his innocence fervently.
c) Describe the life of Aksionov in prison.
Aksionov was imprisoned, since he was suspected for killing a merchant. But the actual murderer of the merchant was Semeyonich. Even his wife suspected him for the murder. This thought made him even sadder. He gave up all hope and told himself that God only knew the truth. For twenty-six years as a convict in Siberia, he grew old. In prison, Aksionov learnt to make boots, and earned a little money with which he bought the book ‘The Lives of the Saints’. He used to read this book. On Sundays, in the prison-church he read the lessons and sang on the choir. The prison authorities liked him for his meekness. His fellow-prisoners respected and called him “Grandfather” and “The Saint.” He was the spokesman among the prisoners. After 26 years, Semeyonich was imprisoned for his sin. Even if Aksionov realized Semeyonich was the real murderer, he saved Semeyonich from the Governer in an incident. Semeyonich realized his mistake and confessed his guilt. But when the order of his release came, Aksionov was already dead.
d) Why did Aksionov decide not to reveal the truth about Makar Semeyonich?
Ans: Aksionov was imprisoned, since he was suspected for killing a merchant. For twenty-six years as a convict in Siberia, he grew old. He felt that he had suffered twenty six years in the prison without committing any murder. Most of his life was spent in the prison. He had lost all his hope and his family. His wife was dead and his children had forgotten him. He thought where he could go and he had nowhere to go. He no longer had any desire to leave the prison. But he only hoped for his last hours to come. He believed in God alone. His wife misunderstood and suspected him. In the prison, a new prisoner introduced himself and he was Makar Semeyonich. Besides, Makar Semeyonich confessed his guilt. He forgave him for revealing the truth. He did not want to take revenge the murderer. He thought that forgiveness is the best form of revenge.
e) Discuss the meaning and importance of the saying “God sees the truth but waits”.
Ans: This story was all about Aksionov who lost hope and just trusted God. Though he didn’t commit any crime, he was imprisoned for 26 years in the prison. Makar revealed the truth that he was the real murderer. Aksionov forgave him for accepting the truth and attained self-realization. But when the order of his release came, Aksionov was already dead. Our weakness can only make the problem stronger. Being hopeful can make all things possible. The title means that every decisions of God needs enough time.This story is for all the people who loses hope and don’t believe in God. We should wait for the truth to win with a faith in God gives us the answer to all our problems, as the title says GOD SEES THE TRUTH BUT WAITS. At the end of the story there is a shift from materialism to spiritualism.
f) Forgiveness is the best form of revenge. Substantiate the statement with reference to the story.
Ans: Aksionov lived with his wife and children in Vladimir. He decided to make a trip to the fair. His wife tried to stop him because she had a bad dream. On his way, Aksionov met a merchant. But the merchant was killed. So the local police officer arrested and charged against Aksionov. He was sent to work in the mines of Siberia. He grew old there. Aksionov frequently prayed to God. Aksionov was respected by all the inmates due to his gentle behaviour. One day he met Makar Semeyonich. Aksionov found out the truth that Makar was the real killer. He saved Makar from the officials, when he tried to escape. Eventually Makar admitted his crime. Aksionov forgave Makar. Thus forgiving Makar, Aksionov accepted the truth, attained self-realization and died in peace. Really Forgiveness is the best form of revenge.