Victorious Suffering



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Date25.05.2016
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Victorious Suffering

What is the meaning of pain? Why do humans experience t this negative and hurtful sentiment? Pain is felt throughout life. It is an inescapable reality where physical and mental injury can happen to every human on Earth. There are many different forms of pain that one can experience in life; whether it physical, emotional, or mental, pain has an adverse affect on humans. No one desires to experience pain; however, humans have developed countless ways to further accentuate this unwanted and unpleasant emotion. Why? Human innovation has developed countless torture methods, weapons and weapon systems, and other means of inflicting pain on others.

However, are all forms of pain negative? Can triumph emerge from suffering and is it possible for pain to have a positive influence on one’s life? Does life consist of the struggle to overcome pain? These are various questions that each human is faced with in times of woe. Pain forces one to question the meaning of life. It is a reality that spurs not only self-examination, but community examination as well. It can cause one to appreciate the beauty of life, used as a growth tool, and can trigger one’s passage into adulthood. Although pain has damaging effects on the physical and mental state of human beings, anyone can triumphantly push through it. .

Account of Torture tells the story of political prisoner’s triumph over pain. Vladimir Bukovsky was held prisoner for more than 12 years by the USSR beginning in 1963. His torture and imprisonment was due to his affiliation with a close friend facing trial who was denied a lawyer by the government. In an effort to support his friend and oppose the government, Bukovsky organized a hunger strike. As the date of the trial approached, those in charge decided to force feed him through a violent and crude method. In his account, Bukovsky vividly explains his experience and exposes those responsible, “…four or five KGB guys will come to my cell, take me to a medical unit, put a straitjacket on me, tie me up to a table… pushing this thing through my nostril…”. The KGB reference is a vital piece of information that is given in his account. The KGB has a historical record that can be traced. They were the secret police of the Soviet Union. They have a history of carrying out atrocities against dissidents who opposed the Soviet Union. His first hand experience with the KGB and their methods is a primary source about the inner workings of this organization, which only adds to his account’s credibility.

Vladimir Bukovsky discusses the realities of human inflicted pain in his personal torture experience, “They started force feeding me through the nostril. By a rather thick rubber tube with a metal end on it…”. Here, he describes the method of torture used by his oppressors. His detailed description paints a lucid picture to those reading his account. The amount of pain that Bukovsky experienced is evident in the account given by Bukovsky, “…it’s painful like hell I must tell you because for some reason nose is very sensitive part of the body and the tears will be filling your eyes and sort of streaming down because it’s so painful, and – awful thing…”.

Bukovsky’s account is horrifying. Through imagery and the detailed description of his torture, it is inevitable that one feels his experience, “…the blood starts bubbling out of your nostril and it goes down and you start suffocating and you have exact feeling that you will just die…”. This quote is a directly appeals to logos. Every human faces pain on a day to day basis. His account forces the reader to think of their most painful experience and have an empathetic point of view. It truly is an account that appeals to its readers on many different levels. Because of his word choice and description, readers are forced to see through the eyes of Bukovsky and create an image of his torture.

However, in the midst of this unbearable pain, Bukovsky somehow is able to create a method that transforms this cruel experience into one of triumph and accomplishment. This technique not only assists him in his ability to cope with this pain, but allows him to overcome it, “… I developed a technique which many people develop, under these conditions – you just pretend it doesn’t happen to you, you pretend it’s somewhere outside of you, you just externalize the pain, it’s just somewhere over here, it’s not here…You just don’t feel it that way”. This technique is utilized by Bukovsky as a growth tool to rid him of the pain. Force feeding may have injured him physically, but it didn’t injure the mental state or being of Bukovsky. Despite his physical disfigurement, he still possesses the ability to focus within himself, which is difficult even to do in the absence of pain.

The strength of his mind and ability to focus, without a doubt, demonstrates the human capability to face and overcome stressful situations directly. Bukovsky’s account is influential. Furthermore, not only did he overcome pain, but overcame the KGB as well, which was known to break its victims and all who opposed them. It is a first hand success story that further emphasizes the idea that anything is possible. He draws in readers by embracing his torture rather than fearing it. There are many experiences in life where humans must face pain. Many African tribes have rites of passage that involve pain and rituals to fight this pain. Young boys are taught to embrace this struggle and deal with it so that they receive the honor of returning to their village a man. Pain, in this case, is used to strengthen an individual for personal gain and benefit. Another example of overcoming pain is child birth. It may be one of the worst sensations that any pregnant woman feels, but the reward for this pain is life in a newborn baby. This type of pain allows women to respect the beauty of life.

This account appeals to the ethos, pathos and logos of the reader on all levels. It is a first hand historical account made by Soviet Union prisoner. Bukovsky, himself, is the primary source, which makes his account extremely accurate and credible. Furthermore, his horrifying and detailed description allows the reader to feel for Bukovsky, which accents pathos. As a reader, one can truly feel his pain and emotions. Lastly, everyone can relate to his experience because everyone feels pain. It is a universal feeling/emotion of life. Regardless of education level or years of experience on Earth, every person has an experience with pain. Any level of reason/logos can relate to this work. All these factors make this analysis and account important.



Bukovsky’s account is important because every human experiences some level of pain and suffering throughout life. Although everyone will not experience a pain that forces one to have an out-of-body experience like Bukovsky, there are moments in life that call for perseverance and drive. Pain is inescapable. It can physically, mentally and emotionally scar its victims. However, Bukovsky’s account highlights the human ability to maintain. . His account serves as a beacon of hope for those who may feel overwhelmed, stressed, or going through a tough period of life. He managed to overcome and conquer something that seemed insurmountable. He was not an extraordinary person that had powers or superhuman strength, but an ordinary person that was able to face a negative situation and maintain his dignity. Bukovsky is proof that everyday, ordinary people can overcome enormous obstacles.
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