The Captive Mind

The final character sketch produced by Milosz is Delta.  Delta appears to be a very gregarious writer whose poems and works were comical and absurd.  Due to the comedic effct of his writings Delta was a popular author whose works were in much demand, but Delta was also an alcoholic spending his money before he earned it.  Delta joined the volunteer Polish army but was captured by the Red Army and then subsequently captured by the Germans remaining in a German labor camp until the war end.  Like other writers, Delta remained in the West after the war but he longed for his home and he heard that the Soviets were implementing a new liberal government, and he chose to return.  Delta was given a prominent cultural position in the new Poland and he continued to write as he desired, but, as the Soviet regime became more entrenched, Delta was forced to adopted social realism as his method of writing.  This hurt Delta’s talent as he was a man of the absurd yet he had little choice.  Milosz suggests that Delta faced problems because of his older more comedic works and other communist writers criticized him for these pieces forcing Delta to become even more hard line in order to demonstrate his loyalty to the party.  Delta again reveals for Milosz the seduction of the intellectual to the party.  They are given a position of power, authority, and wealth in the Soviet system, but as the Soviet communism becomes entrenched a harder line is taken against producers of culture.  They must always and consistently support the Soviet ideological front to maintain their positions. Thus they are seduced and wedded to a system they neither support nor desire in order to maintain lifestyle and their lives as any small deviation can mean death.  That is the common thread of all four character sketches; these writers, following the war, find something new and desirable in the Soviet system, but, as it becomes further entrenched and its true face is revealed, they understand that they made a deal with the devil, but it is too late to escape.

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