My father died, some brothers and sisters got married, others went to work, to earn money.
Tell me, what good can this unfortunate, weak, dark teacher do for the people, who must turn pale in front of all sorts of buzzers and cockades, to whom every village intellectual gives the tips of his hand as alms, he who does not have an enlightened hour in the struggle for necessity a piece of it? What good can he do for people? Killed, driven, with a tormented face, with a timid painful gleam in his eyes, always speechless, always humble. But is this the man who must boldly lead to the world, to the truth? .. Who will follow him? ..
I have seen many such disadvantaged, useless workers among old teachers, and I see and know that when I stay to teach – and such a fate awaits me fear I am afraid, tingles pass behind my back – and rush to run, run … run somewhere, though in the clerk, even to trade behind the counter, even in the old man, to escape from that name – a teacher … I am still young, I have abilities, energy. No, I will still fight for a better fate … «- Stepan Vasyliovych wrote in his diary.
Seeking to expand his education, Panasenko in 1904 entered the Glukhov Teachers’ Training Institute, which was then jokingly called the Peasant University. «This school was sad,» he recalls. «It was a dead end in which those peasants were driven.x teachers who sought higher education… It was a gloomy, business barracks where, apart from academic training, there was no access to anything else. «
Stepan Vasyliovych had to study in an anxious and formidable time. The year 1905 shook the whole empire. A mass labor movement unfolded, which soon escalated into an armed struggle. «Bloody Sunday» on January 9, 1905 accelerated the outbreak of the revolution. Barricades were erected on the streets of cities. Landlord estates and savings burned in the villages. The revolutionary proletariat of Russia took up arms to overthrow the autocracy.
Fresh breaths of the revolutionary storm reached Glukhov. Students went on strike, demanding that the administration reorganize the barracks regime, update the teaching system, and change the institutional order. One of the initiators and leaders of the strike was Stepan Panasenko.
The tsarist government carried out fierce massacres of the rebels. Shots rang out everywhere, naked naked punitive expeditions whistled. Long rolls of shackled revolutionaries, fighters against autocracy, reached out to forced Siberia.
The strike at the institute subsided. One by one, the students withdrew from revolutionary activity, surrendered, and died. Hopes for better education at the institute were dashed. Stepan Panasenko takes the documents and goes to the village to teach again. Suppressing the revolution, tsarism intensified repression against the public school. But even in the conditions of a fierce reaction, the teacher-patriot did not lose heart. Moreover, in the village of Brusovo in Poltava region, ignoring the tsar’s ban, he teaches children their native language.
Once again, local authorities began to persecute the «unreliable teacher.»
Stepan Vasilyevich has long dreamed of getting into a working environment. He sought relocation to the village of Shcherbynivka in the Donbas, which was one of the centers of the Horlivka armed uprising of workers and miners in December 1905. He maintains close contacts with the revolutionary workers of the Shcherbynkivsky mine, transfers illegal political literature to the mines. According to the memoirs of Shcherbynivka residents, Panasenko handed over to miners the Russian text of the proletarian anthem «International» which was performed during rallies and demonstrations.
But he did not have time to look closely at the turbulent life of a miner, as he and other teachers were arrested on a kulak denunciation and sent to Bakhmut prison, where he had to spend a year and a half.
In prison, Panasenko met many political prisoners. He became especially sincere friends with the Ossetian Alexei Khostnaev. A poet at heart, he knew the power of fairy tales of his native people, told them in the evenings. Later, at large, the Ukrainian teacher will write down those Ossetian fairy tales, literary works, and prints. For a long time and patiently Stepan Panasenko taught his brother literacy, read him «Kobzar».
The field court acquitted Panasenko. But at this time he was struck by typhus. Barely crying, he left the hospital. Where now? He was forbidden to teach. He went to his mother and Ichnya. In an old dilapidated house, she herself lived to old age, suffering greatly. My father died, some brothers and sisters got married, others went to work, to earn money.
Panasenko lives from private lessons. A modest salary was enough to somehow interrupt. He helped his mother during the day and wrote in the evenings and at night. He worked drunkenly, feverishly, to the point of self-forgetfulness. Dawn often peeked out the small windows, and he couldn’t get away from the table.
Previously, Panasenko thought that by teaching, he would give his offended people the most benefit. He enthusiastically devoted himself to pedagogical work. He loved children and tried his best to sow the seeds of truth and science in their souls.
Now the road to school is reserved for him. But he will never sit idly by. «I decided: you can’t live like this, you have to fight. But how? I decided to take the floor as a weapon for such a struggle,» Panasenko later wrote.
… His path to literature began in the village school, when he composed his first poems, imitating Shevchenko, Pushkin, Koltsov. Boarding school life in the seminary did little to promote literary studies. However, his class works, often written in artistic form, moved the teacher of literature to tears.
In the first years of teaching Panasenko kept a diary – «Teacher’s Notes» noting there everything experienced and seen. In it we find interesting episodes, which later the writer unfolded in short stories, novels.
In Ichnia, Panasenko really took up literary work. The lives of the rural poor, rural intellectuals (especially teachers), children, adolescents – this is what became the object of his literary interests. The writer’s favorite genre is short stories. He works on each of them for a long time, polishing every word to shine. Having dared to send what was written to the Ukrainian newspaper Rada, which was published in Kyiv (1906-1914). There the first works appeared in print – the story «Roman» «Hungry and honeysuckle – meat» (later renamed to «Peasant arithmetic»), «Boy» «Vova» «In the dark» «At gentlemen» «Abroad» «From the very beginning «. In the pedagogical magazine «Light» stories «Dinner» «Over Russia» are published at the same time. These stories were published under a disguised name – Stepan Vasylchenko.
All these works immediately attracted the attention of readers with their social acuity, urgency and artistic perfection.
Work in the newspaper «Rada»
The Rada’s editorial office offered Vasilchenko a permanent job, and in 1910 he moved to Kyiv.
A writer of a clearly democratic orientation, Vasylchenko did not share the bourgeois-liberal views of the staff and publishers of the newspaper. He often caught the contemptuous glances of the punk liberals who took care of the newspaper. But it was the only Ukrainian daily newspaper published after the 1905 revolution. And Vasilchenko agreed to work in the Rada. After all, such writers and figures of Ukrainian culture as M. Kotsyubynsky, A. Teslenko, M. Lysenko were published here …
A native of the working people, Vasilchenko always sought to serve him honestly. However, he somewhat superficially understood the complexity of the class struggle in Ukraine. The writer sometimes considered national problems in isolation from social and class ones. Therefore, along with such works as «Peasant Arithmetic» «Abroad» where a clear social connotation is given, he writes stories («Under the school», «Inspector» and others), articles («People’s school and native language in Ukraine» «In modern school»), which deals only with the pedagogical need to teach in public schools in the native language.
In the newspaper Vasylchenko heads the department of theatrical chronicle. The low salary he received was barely enough to make ends meet. He lived in a cheap apartment in Solomyanka, a poor suburb, and went to and from work on foot, because spending money on a carriage would be an excessive luxury for him.
Vasilchenko was always unpretentious in everyday life compare and contrast essay now to buy. He cared about the most sacred – creativity, any literary work of the heart. The writer works hard. He came to literature with rich life experience. Years of teaching in the villages of Kyiv and Poltava regions, the revolutionary whirlwinds of 1905, imprisonment in prison, meetings with many human destinies and characters – all this determined the thematic range of the writer.
But, in addition to the school of life, there was also a literary and artistic, which formed the extraordinary talent of Vasylchenko – a master of the word, a realist artist.
In a relatively short time, the name of Stepan Vasylchenko became quite popular. His best works on the life of teachers, about peasants and their children have gained recognition among a wide readership.
Vasylchenko’s works were first published in a separate collection in Kyiv in 1911. Only three short stories were published in the small book «Sketches» («Roman» «U gospodiv» «Muzhytska arichmetyka»).
In 1913, Stepan Vasylchenko’s play “On the First Buzz” was staged in Kyiv for the first time, which he wrote as a gift to the Ukrainian peasant youth, which after that became so popular everywhere on small and large stages in Ukraine. Beautifully furnished, the play made an extraordinary impression on the audience. The youth was fascinated. It was said that there was a breath of talent in the hall all the time. «I watched the play from the gallery, thinking it would be better to hide from friends at this time. However, at the end of the play the students exposed me and gave me a standing ovation. Three students handed me a bouquet of flowers. I first hid it on my chest under my coat. The students began to protest. «We poor students,» they said, «bought these flowers for the last penny, and you despise them so much.» I had to take them out.
There was a sad fate of that bouquet. There was bad weather, rain, dirt outside, and I lived in Solomyanka. I wanted to take a carriage – I didn’t go. «You will pay me a penny, and my hat costs three.» At night in Solomyanka, drivers were attacked and hats were robbed. Three rubles! – he killed my price. I had to stomp on foot, in the rain. And it’s dark, at least hit in the eye. On my way to Solomyanskaya Mountain, I slipped and rattled the bouquet on the way several times, so that when I entered my apartment I saw that I had one scraper in my hands: all the heads in the bouquet flew away.