An Excerpt Of Khrushchevs Secret Speech English Literature Essay

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The source provided is an excerpt of Khrushchevs secret speech which can be analysed to show the influence of Stalins myths. The Speech, however does not give a real picture of Stalin.

Myths surrounding Stalin were generated by a 'cult of personality' which founded a 'state-manufactured myth' that were only concerning Stalin himself. (Pittaway, 2008, p.137) Stalin supported the glorification of himself and used all conceivable methods to achieve promote himself in a 'god- like' way.

When Stalin died in 1953 his myths remained strong throughout the Soviet Union. With the positive myths of Stalin still strong Khrushchev would have a difficult time to convince people that the ways of Stalin were not acceptable. Once Khrushchev became the most powerful man in the Soviet Union (Pittaway, 2008, p.136) he was safe to express his views on Stalin's dictatorship without being stripped of his power.

In 1956 Khrushchev took his speech to the Soviet Congress. By denouncing Stalin in an official congress meeting his argument would have been strengthened, and the congress would be more receptive to what Khrushchev had to say.

Khrushchev compared Stalin to Lenin. Lenin's actions were seen as justifiable and that severe methods were only ever used when needed (Khrushchev, in Assignment Booklet, 2012, p.23)

Although Khrushchev did not describe Stalin's crimes in detail, for fear of mentioning his involvement, he did mention the way that the crimes were carried out. Stalin is said to have abused his power, (Khrushchev, in Assignment Booklet, 2012, p.23) and used 'extreme methods when the revolution was already victorious.' (Khrushchev, in Assignment Booklet, 2012, p.23) At the time Stalin's positive myths outweighed the negative and many of the repressions were defended as 'conspiracies' from 'external enemies.'(Pittaway, 2008, p.131) but Khrushchev pointed out Stalin's Violent and tyrant traits and held him responsible for everything. In the 1930s and 1940s many saw Stalin as a 'great and wise' leader and blamed the local officials for the deprivation, so by repeating the words 'brutal' and 'repression' the congress were forced to think about Stalin's personality and behaviour. This attack on Stalin's personality kept the congress thinking about Stalin's actions rather than Khrushchev's motives.

Stalin's brutality was not intended for the 'actual enemies', but also for anyone who disagreed with him including the party who supported him. The party would be aware of this, but the concept of the 'enemy of the people' would justify Stalin's actions, and provide Khrushchev with the ability to show this was Stalin's way of securing power.

Khrushchev could confirm that the Soviet Congress all had a part to play in Stalin's regime, in which Khrushchev excused them. He stated Stalin was only concerned with the image he portrayed and 'ceased to consider the general committee or the party' (Khrushchev, in Assignment Booklet,2012, p.23) Khrushchev also pointed out that that Stalin saw himself 'above the party and the nation' and didn't actually care for them or what they did.

Replacing Stalin's myths meant that Khrushchev could use the situation to cover his old image with one that would appeal to the Soviet Union as a virtuous leader and lead the Soviet Union into a new direction. If Khrushchev had challenged the myths surrounding Stalin, his argument that Stalin was a brutal, violent leader who cared only for his own gain, would not have had the strength of a new myth, proving that the creation of myth is powerful. (568 Words)


Khrushchev, 1956. Congressional Record: Proceddings and Debates of the 84th Congress reprinted in AA100 Assignment Booklet (2012). In: Assignment Booklet. Milton Keynes: The Open University, p. 23.

Pittaway, M., 2008. 'Stalin'. In: E. Moohan, ed. Reputations (AA100 BOOK 1). Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 123-160.

Part 2

Read the following poems by Thomas Hardy ('The Oxen') and Seamus Heaney ('Cow in Calf') in The Faber Book of Beasts (pp.195 and 62). In no more than 600 words, compare the ways in which the two poets represent cattle.

New forms of poetry, however radical they appear, almost always show traces of tradition. (Danson Brown, 2008, p.63)

'The Oxen' written by Thomas Hardy and 'Cow in Calf' by Seamus Heaney show significant differences but also share some common traditional qualities.

'The Oxen' is a narrative poem telling the reader a story about Christmas, and about the oxen, that according to folk tradition would kneel at midnight in Christmas Eve. It also follows the speaker's, Hardy's, belief of the tradition. 'Cow in Calf' is an Imagery poem which illustrates an image rather than telling a story. The poem represents a cow that is heavily pregnant, and the natural cycle of life.

Traditional Styles of poetry, that include quatrains and rhyming lines can be seen in 'The Oxen', which follows an ABAB rhyming scheme. The rhyming words at the end of each alternating line create an almost song-like rhythm. Rhyming poems are easier to remember and allow the reader to connect to the poem through memory rather than just reading the words alone. The consistent rhythm of the poem can also represent the way cattle move at a slow steady pace.

The absence of a rhyming pattern from Heaney's poem not only avoids the traditional poetic forms, but enables him to use words freely to portray his subject. Without being restricted to any traditional structure Heaney not only uses his language skills to establish his images he can also use they layout of his stanzas to represent his pregnant cow by using enjambment. 'Cow in Calf' has three stanzas all of different length. The first stanza contains three lines, the second, six lines and the third stanza five lines. With fourteen lines this poem is a sonnet, which can be seen as a traditional style of poetry used by the like of Shakespeare.

To represent the cattle with words, Hardy and Heaney use a number of traditional devices, including alliteration and repetition. To strengthen the tone change in the third Stanza, where Hardy is realising that the traditions past down may be fictional, the majority of Hardy's alliteration is used. The alliteration in this stanza can also be interpreted as anger almost all the words used are monosyllabic. 'Fair', 'fancy' and 'few', 'Years. Yet' and 'some', 'said' and 'see' ('The Oxen', Lines 9 - 12).

Heaney uses Alliteration in 'Cow and calf' and also the senses, such as sight, sound and touch that every reader would relate to generate a stronger image. The alliteration is distributed over the first two stanzas. In the first stanza, 'barrel' and 'belly'('Cow in Calf', Line 1-3), are used to create an image of a round object, such as the pregnant cow. This also provides evidence of the sense of sight. In the second stanza there is evidence of the sense of sound and movement with the onomatopoeic words 'slapping', 'seed' and 'strapped' creating the sense of movement as the hand slaps the cow out of the byre and alliterated words, 'blows' and 'bomb' ('Cow in Calf', Lines 7-8) possibly creating the deep sound heard, like a bass, as the hand strikes.

To describe his poem in greater detail Heaney has to use further devices which were used by traditional poets, such as metaphors and similes and assonance. As Hardy does not need to describe his poem in great detail he does not include these devices.

The final Stanza in 'The Oxen', Hardy juxtaposes words to create a contrast or sense of confusion, 'Childhood', 'Used to' and 'Hoping' and 'Gloom' ('The Oxen', Lines 14- 16). In this Stanza Hardy is reluctant to give up the traditions just in case.

Heaney, by using the traditional poetic devices, has proved the statement that dissenting forms of poetry almost always show traces of tradition; and Hardy has shown tradition through the story of his poem.

(635 Words)