Філологія - Вісник Донецького інституту соціальної освіти


Lecturer of Chair of Foreign Languages for Humanities Taurida National Vernadsky University

The article attempts to comprehend the narrative of M. Matios «Sweet Darusya» through the prism of mythology of Ukrainian being, traditions and philosophy of people’s thinking. Ethnic constants, reflected in the novel, are represented in the article, it focuses on the symbolic image of Darusya, who embodies not only personal tragedy and falls back to the genetic code of the nation.

Key words: mythology, literary tradition, symbolism, image, literary character.


He purpose of the article is an attempt to comprehend the narrative of M. Matios «Sweet Darusya» through the prism of mythology of Ukrainian being, traditions and philosophy of people’s thinking, to represent ethnic constants, reflected in the novel, to make focuses on the symbolic image of Darusya, who embodies not only personal tragedy and falls back to the genetic code of the nation.

M. Matios is a writer of a traditional manner who reveals the life of Man in the mirror of national dimension in her novels, and that determined her extraordinary writing in modern literature.

Recently Ukrainian literature has focused on the study of literary works that promote the national idea, demonstrating cultural identity of our people, their mentality and traditions. An example of such literature is M. Matios’s narrative «Sweet Darusya» which was awarded Taras Shevchenko National Prize in 2005. Critics truely called the most famous and the most popular Maria Matios’s novel «Sweet Darusya» «a tragedy, an adequate history of XX  century», and Darusya is «almost biblical image». According to S. Zhila there is nothing unambiguous in this drama of «three lives»: nor characters, nor circumstances, nor dйnouement. There are no epochal people or events in the novel, positive or negative characters, but, as critics claim, «when one reads this book the heart hurts». This family saga, which «Sweet Darusya» reflects the true spirit of a past age, which wounds are still preventing the part of modern society from acceptance of Ukrainian history without prejudice [5].

Some writer’s intentions are «to improve global injustice with the help of love» (by Lesia Ukraininka) or «to overcome mankind by the nobility of soul» (by Nietzsche) create a gallery of artistic images and symbols that fit very well in the perennial values of the human spirit, ideas about morality and decency. Psychological insight, complex plot on a «reverse» principle and the splendid language generate very attractive prosaic canvas [1].

Even with appearance of the narrative «Sweet Darusya» on the pages of «Suchasnist» literary critics and writers have been generous to rave reviews. Thus, for example, P. Zagrebelniy said: «The writer Maria Matios by the novel «Sweet Darusya» rejected boldly and decisively the rules of political prudence and social taboos –  and on her own account she carried out a cruel

©S. Martsovenko, 2012


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Journey in our bloody and no less cruel historical hell, in deep, where it’s scary to look into» (Translated byS. Martsovenko) [7, р. 174].

Maria Matios’s novel «Sweet Darusya» is called Ukrainian history of 30s-70s of the XX-th century on Bukovyna and Galician areas. The work of the writer gives us understanding of Hutsul life as an object of discriminatory policies in different occupation regimes, presents tensions that existed in Bukovina and Galicia between the Ukrainian majority and Romanian, German and Soviet governments, refraction in philosophy, mentality, world view, perceptions of the world that occur with humans during stunning historical events [5].

«Sweet Darusya» is slender and perfect literary work in terms of composition. The full title of the novel is «Sweet Darusya. Drama for three lives» This genre definition immediately puts the reader to the three-term organization of the work, which the author called «drama». However, it is not about dramatic work, which consists of three acts, a novel that has three parts, all closely connected. Each part of the «drama» has its name. The first is called «Darusya» (daily drama). The second is «Ivan Tsvychok» (previous drama). The third is «Mikhailov miracle» (the main drama). These three dramas are not on the basis of chronology, in the order of semantic gradation [1].

Maria Matios in the novel «Sweet Darusya» suggests such ideas as marginal human existence, human alienation from society, existential belief that man to understand himself as the one, must go through boundary situation, fear, loneliness, anxiety, horror, fear, internal pain.

Literary critics called main character of the narrative Darusya «prerequisite» the embodiment of human guilt at the world or the guilt of the world at the individual [7, р. 157]. The main character is immersed in water when she feels bad (even if it is ringing frost), and only river water is able to extract unbearable pain from her. Water as a prehistoric symbol was considered to be the source of life. In terms of psychology, water is the unconscious deep layers of personality, where there are images of mysterious creatures. According to all the myths of peoples, it forms the heavenly arch. It acts as a universal symbol in all the world’s traditions, while is endowed with different functions. Certain water qualities led to its spiritualities (perhaps Thales guided by precisely the properties of water that characterized it as a living principle, when he brought up the water as the first element of the world). Water is always moving. Water, acting as a fundamental principle of the world, symbolizes the completeness of possibilities, blending of elements that preceded all forms and all creation. Perhaps such a fundamental role of water in the universe associated with its assigned ability to transform, change (because of its «transformation» into steam, hail, snow, ice). Thus, the image of water in the M. Matios narrative is very versatile and symbolic, because it is cleansing, and penance, and the life. As the water is an intermediary between the world of the living beings and the dead world, it embodies the eternity and serves Darusya as a kind of opportunity to experience contact with the dead father.

In the M. Matios narrative fate of stoic patience and courage to stay on the cross of life even when you are completely alone and wait for assistance, out of nowhere is reproduced. That is the nature and water as its primary substance which life is born from.

According to the narrative Darusya must bear the universal pain as her own and can’t shift her burden. She carries the dug roots of flowers around the village, wrapping it like children in a warm blanket, or decorates peartree with colored ribbons. «Why wood is sad when autumn sun shines when pain to the brain doesn’t hurt Darusya?» (Translated by S. Martsovenko) [6, р. 19].

It is difficult to denominate Sweet Darusya, as they call her, as a symbol because the novel is much deeper, to put the emphasis. This is the philosophy of good and evil, spirit and morality, philosophy of life, happiness and suffering, pain and love and destiny of the people and talent of man. «Darusya   –  the image is almost biblical. The variant of Christ and his Calvary» (Translated by S. Martsovenko) [6, р. 174].

The theme of Ukrainians is dominant in the novel and is reflected in the plot of the novel, in the images, specific details, the language, the general atmosphere. The writer emphasizes the fact that, despite all the tribulations, ridicule, suffering, Ukrainians live, this life-affirming spirit is reflected in the nature, freedom, tradition, culture, echoes in tune where the «смертію смерть поправ...».



«The image of voice and silence are repeatedly referred to in the narrative of M. Matios. Her characters are followed by sense of voice and word as a need for their self-awareness as a separate identity and the whole nation. Darusya is on a thorny path out of silence to the first consciously spoken word, and then there is a dramatic tension out of nothingness into being, from suffering to the ability to win» (Translated by S. Martsovenko) [7, р. 156].

Search for a voice is a search for truth, verity in the novel. It firstly concerns the main character, Darusya; around her muteness all the passions boil up in the village. The writer presents the reader the word as an eternal substance of life, as a form of higher consciousness as a sign of truth. That’s why very important character in the M. Matios works is language as a mean and as the content, as a way to the truth, as self-awareness.

M. Yakubovskaya argues that in the narrative «Sweet Darusya» the image of voice grows from an image of silence, being is born from the ashes, the voice of the one weaves in the voice of the crowd. With the voice of a crowd realizes itself as people, dеclaring the world their right to be». In mythology of being the voice plays a decisive role. But the voice to be matured, one should develop the silence. And M. Matios silence is not the same: it is either angrily disturbing or suddenly solitude or nobly generalized. It is different. There is the silence –  as the cause and silence   –  as a consequence [5].

M. Matios character has patience but it is not blind reconciliation or weakness but strength and love. In Darusya fragile body high strong spirit lives that fueles by the energy of water, earth, greenery   –  the universe. She has to bear the cross in order to avoid breaking the line of folk fate, to pull the world and people in it by suffering.

By «Sweet Darusya» M. Matios declares the opinion «Woe is no good»   –  the word is known through silence, music – through silence, love   –  through suffering, the world   –  through testing, that there is no joy without sorrow. M. Matios writing is so alive and variegated that every word as if one can taste it. To achieve her goal the writer uses a variety of artistic means and images, among which the most important is address to folk sources. In the works one can ever find allusions to certain mythological stories, folk images, propensity to archaic, myth and collective unconsious is clearly seen, appeal to the mythological beliefs, operating the names of mythical creatures. These techniques make the novel clear, close to people, experiencing the passion and sorrow, joy and pain. There is the most severe pain in the novel, however, because that is people’s life.

The idea of literary symbolism of the Darusya’s image, who represents Ukraine. She carries her torment, suffering as penance   –  majestically and stoicly. This is link between the past and the future, it is a chance to stay and save the world.

With the image of Darusya M. Matios builds a new plane of being, which opens unexplored before reserves of the human spirit and courage, integrity and obsession. Just near the graves of ancestors, says M. Matios, our cleansing, our temptation, and our universal progress. Only there there are the root cause of our troubles and successes. To understand the future one should understand the past. This is not just a passive conception, and alive interaction of times. Darusya’s voice returnes only at the cemetery near the grave of her father.

The phrase «Yorchyh posture» is connected with the cemetery, it is represented in the novel as a living reminder as a special symbol as a separate plane of fate, because no one can escape that eternal progress, which is seen immediately in a separate dimension, more than trivial. Not everyone can rise to such progress in everyday terms, because it is very difficult to remember about the end of everyday life, and only a few who realize higher truthes through suffering, even at the level of intuition, but they discover the laws of life philosophy. Thus, in the M. Matios narrative the key characters (along with people) are images of pain, voice, silence, speech, liberty, eternity, fate.

M. Matios argues that the present is a visible gap between past and future, and Darusya is a tragic symbol of life of Ukrainian history. Her personal atonement applies to everyone and reaches the roots in the national genetic code.

M. Matios narrative «Sweet Darusya» someone considers the best book of 2004. Thus, I. Vedmid says: «Sweet Darusya» is one of those works that one reads with lightning speed, and then he comes back to it again and again. This is the thing one can not take anything else after it


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For a long time. It helps get rid of inferiority complex to someone who got used to feel less like all the others» (Translated by S. Martsovenko) [3, р. 12].

It’s difficult to say about M. Matios and her masterpiece narrative better, but we note that in modern Ukrainian literature there are very few works, which would fully represent this unprecedented bound that defines our nation as distinctive and unique. In the narrative «Sweet Darusya» the tragedy of human lives is reproduced when mutism is stronger than the voice. Drama for three lives permeated by Ukrainian spirit and mentality that characterizes the author as a person who feels the history of her nation by naked nerve and can play in his mind the image of a girl   –  heroine who embodies Ukraine.


1. Адамовська Наталка Марія Матіос «Солодка Даруся» / [Електронний ресурс] / На­талка Адамовська]   –  Леся Романчук. –  Режим доступу: Http://romanchuk. org. ua/?p=462

2. Васильєв С. М. Матіос: «Література –  не бої без правил» / С. М. Васильєв. –  2007. – № 10.   –  С 76-83.

3. Ведмідь І. Три життєві уроки «Солодкої Дарусі» (Спроба акцентувати деякі пробле­ми роману М. Матіос) / І. Ведмідь   //  Дивослово. – 2007.   –  № 6.   –  С 12-14.

4. Габор В. Марія Матіос/ В. Габор  //  Незнайома: Антологія української «жіночої» про­зи та есеїстки другої половини XX  –  початку XXI століття. –  Львів: ЛА «Піраміда», 2005. –  С 374-375.

5. Жила С. О. «Трагедія адекватна історії»: роман Марії Матіос «Солодка Даруся» та читацька конференція за цим твором [Електронний ресурс] / СО. Жила //  Українська література. –  Режим доступу: Http://www. ukrlit. vn. ua/article1/1753.html

6. Матіос М. Солодка Даруся / М. Матіос. – Львів: ЛА «Піраміда», 2005.   –  176 с

7. Якубовська М. У дзеркалі слова: Ессеї про сучасну українську літературу / М. Яку-бовська. –  Львів: Каменяр, 2005.   –  751 с

У статті здійснено спробу осягнення повісті М. Матіос «Солодка Даруся» крізь призму міфоло­гії буття українців, традицій та філософії мислення народу; представлено етнічні константи, які зна­йшли своє відображення утворі; акцентується увага на символічності образу Дарусі, який утілює не лише особистісну трагедію, а сягає корінням у генетичний код нації.

Ключові слова: міфологія, літературна традиція, символізм, образ, літературний характер.

В статье предпринята попытка постижения повести М. Матиос «Солодка Даруся» сквозь при­зму мифологии бытия украинцев, традиций и философии мышления народа, представлены этниче­ские константы, которые нашли свое отражение в произведении; акцентируется внимание на сим­воличности образа Даруси, который воплощает не только личностную трагедию, а уходит корнями в генетический код нации.

Ключевые слова: мифология, литературная традиция, символизм, образ, литературный ха­Рактер.

Надійшло до редакції 8.06.2012.