Maxim Gorky’s childhood was a bed of harshness softened by rays of light and kindness, principally from his long-suffering grandmother. His grandfather, while having a few admirable qualities, also believed in the patriarch’s right to violence even to within an inch of someone’s life.
But he mellowed with time. Here, having mellowed, he waits a few days after Gorky’s mother’s death before telling his teenage grandson that it was time he launched himself.
You’re on your own son. Good luck.
A few days after Mother’s funeral Grandfather said:
‘Alexei, you’re not a medal, you’re only hanging round my neck. There’s no room for you here. You must go out into the world.’
And so I went out into the world.
Source: Maxim Gorky, My Childhood, trans. Ronald Wilks (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1966), p. 233
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