God Sees The Truth But Waits Summary

“God Sees the Truth but Waits” was written by a famous Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy. This story presents the false conviction and imprisonment of a man for murder that the did not commit and his forgiveness to the real murderer.

There was a young business man named Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov in the town of Vladimir. He had his two shops and own house. He was a handsome man. He had some bad habits before his marriage like drinking alcohol very much and involved in fighting. He gave up these habits after his marriage.

In one summer, he was going to the Nizhny fair for his trade. He said good bye to his wife but she told her dream, Aksionov came back from the town. When he took off his cap, she saw his hair grey in colour her not start his journey that day because she had seen a bad dream about Aksionov. She told him that in which could be his bad luck. So she told him not to start his journey to the fair. Aksionov laughed and told her that was a lucky sign for him. He said to bring some presents from the fair and drove away saying good bye.

After travelling the half way, he wanted to spend his night in an inn where he met another businessman whom he had known. They took a cup of tea and went to sleep in separate adjacent rooms. Next morning in the cool weather, Aksionov started his journey. After travelling twenty-five miles, he fed his horses and rested there for a while playing the guitar.

There came a police officer with his other two soldiers. He asked some cross-questions to Aksionov. He was wondering about why the police officer was asking him such questions like a thief or a robber. He said that he was innocent and he knew nothing. Then the officer told him that a merchant was found throat cut and killed in the inn where Aksionov had spent the previous night. He searched his bags where he found a blood-stained knife. Moreover, the officer asked him to tell how he killed him and how much he stole. Aksionov said that he was innocent and he had only his eight thousand rubles with him. The officer told him that there were no other persons than him in the inn and it was locked from inside. He could not speak and just stammered. Finally, he was charged with killing a businessman and robbing twenty thousand rubles. They took him to a prison. His wife was in hopeless condition. She went to meet him. When she saw him in the prison, he was there with other thieves and criminals in prison-dress and chains. Looking at him, she fell down and became unconscious. After a long time, she got her consciousness and took her children. She discussed about possible ways to be released from the prison. He suggested her to write a request letter to the Czar (Emperor). She told him that she had done so but the Czar did not accept that. She talked about the dream that she had already told him and she asked him to tell the truth whether he had really killed the merchant. Aksionov cried because even his wife suspected him.

Aksionov spent twenty-six years in the prison. There came another person of sixty years in the prison named Makar Semyonich. He had been in the Siberia prison before and he had not satyed there for a long time. At first, he did not tell the reason for his arrest. He used to say that he was innocent. He dug the tunnel under the wall of the prison. When the governor of the prison saw the heap of soil, he asked Aksionov to tell the truth. But Aksionov did not tell him because Makar had told him not to say about it and he had been digging the tunnel to escape from there. All the thieves and the criminals respected Aksionov and made him their spokesman and they called him ‘Grandfather’ and ‘The Saint’.

He learned to make boots from which he earned a little money. He bought a book, The Lives of the Saints with the money. He became like a saint in the prison; so the authorities also liked him. He transformed himself as a spiritual person and learned to forgive. Later, Maker told that he had killed the businessman in the inn. He further said that he even wanted to kill Aksionov but there was a sound outside. Therefore. he hid the blood-staind knife in Aksionov’s bags and ran away from there; because of which Aksionov had to spend twenty-six years in the prison. Makar knelt down before Aksionov and regretted for his misdeed. Aksionov forgave him and he also did not want to return his home; instead, he longed to die there in the prison. Aksionov was found innocent by the authorities and they sent his release letter; meanwhile Aksionov was already dead.

The story tells us that innocent person should not be punished in the name of justice; for it, there should be a fair justice system so that other innocent people would not get such a punishment like Aksionov.

God Sees The Truth But Waits Questions And Answer: Understanding Text 

Answer these questions.

a. What bad habits did Aksionov have before his marriage? 

Ans: Aksionov had habits of drinking and wasting time before his marriage and he used to be riotous (out of control) after drinking too much.

b. What can be the meaning of his wife’s dream ? 

Ans: The meaning of his wife’s dream can be a bad luck for him because she has seen his hair

grey in colour.

c. Why did Aksionov think of killing himself? 

Ans: Aksionov thought of killing himself because he recalled the place where he was arrested, flogged, the executioner, and the people standing around; the chains, the convicts, all the twenty-six years of his prison life, and his premature old age. These all unfavourable circumstances made Aksionov kill himself.

d.Why did Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant ? 

Ans: Makar disclosed that he had killed the merchant because Aksionov made him feel guilty about his crime. So, he felt ashamed of his activity of trapping an innocent person, Aksionov. In addition, he was saved from the governor because of Aksionov who had been spending twenty-six years in prison for Makar’s crime.

e.Why doesn’t Aksionov wish to return to his family at the end of the story? 

Ans: Aksionov does not wish to return to his family at the end of the story because he wants to die in the prison itself. He has spent most of his life there without committing any crime. Besides, he is not sure about his wife and children. He does not want to show his face again in the society. So he desires to die in the prison rather returning to his family.

Reference to the context

a. “Well, old man,” repeated the Governor, “tell me the truth: who has been digging under the wall?” “

i.Who is that old man ? 

Ans: That old man is Aksionov.

ii.Which truth is the speaker asking about ? 

Ans: The speaker is asking about the truth of the persons in the prison, out of them, who has been digging under the wall to escape from there.

ii. which wall does the speaker mean?

Ans: The speaker means the wall of the prison.

b. Describe Aksionov’s character. 

Ans: Aksionov was a young merchant with two shops and his own house. He was handsome, faired- hared, curly-headed, full of fun, and fond of singing. He played the guitar very nicely. He used to drink and be riotous before his marriage. He loved his beloved and children very much. So he brought beautiful gifts for his wife and children to make them surprise from the fairs. He was not a superstitious man as he did not believe in such things when his wife said that she had seen a bad dream that he had grey hair and that might be his bad luck. But he said that could be his lucky sign to do a good trade in the fair. He had a friendly and caring nature too. He fed the horses after- travelling about twenty-five miles. He offered tea to the police officer. He was innocent and he spoke very frankly to the police officer. He did nothing to Makar even if he had known that he had been trapped in the murder case of the merchant by him keeping his blood-stained knife in his bag. He was emotional also. When his wife met him in the prison, he was so upset because his wife also suspected him for the case. He was a religious-minded too. So he prayed every time for the God for the truth that was supposed to be revealed. At last, being innocent and sincere, he died in the prison. 

c.What is the theme of the God Sees The Truth But Waits?

Ans: The theme of the story is guilt, forgiveness, faith, conflict, freedom and acceptance. He forgives Makar for his guilt. He takes the revenge with Maker by forgiving him.

Innocent people should not be punished in the name of justice. And the real convicts/criminals must be punished as per the law is also the theme of this story.

d.Which symbols are used in the story and what do they indicate? 

Ans: The symbols that are used in the story are:

i.His house and two shops: They indicate his family, his material belongings, and his earthly affairs;

ii.His wife’s dream: It shows his bad luck when she saw his grey hair;

iii. Inn: It indicates the place from where his bad luck began;

iv. Siberian mine: It represents a place where Aksionov had to hard labour as a punishment for the crime that he was sentenced for

V.The prison: It is a symbol of his suffering and his eventual spiritual transformation.

vi.God: God is used as the symbol of justice who is an alone witness to see the truth.

vii. Bloody knife: It represents an evidence of his murdering.

viii. The Lives of the Saints (Book): It symbolizes the inspiration of his spiritual transformation.

Reference beyond the text

a.What role does religion play in Aksionov’s life? How does he undergo a spiritual transformation in the story ? 

Ans: Religion plays a significant role in Aksionov’s life as it helps him for his spiritual transformation in prison after being falsely arrested for the murder of another merchant. He realizes that only God can know the truth and turns to prayer for solace. The investigators do not try to understand his innocence as they think that the bloody knife is sufficient evidence for arresting him. Even his wife whom he loves very much suspects him for the crime. He starts. reading the book, The Lives of Saints and has a faith in God that He is alone to witness his innocence (truth) in the hope of having His mercy to be released from the prison. Because of having faith in God, he forgives Makar when he discloses his secrets about the crime that he has done for which Aksionov is spending twenty-six years in the prison. Thus, religion helps him for his spiritual transformation.

b.What does the story tell us about the existence of unfair system of justice?

Ans: The story tells us about a man who was arrested and flogged for a crime and condemned for a murder that he did not commit. It shows that there is an existence of one of the most significant imperfections of the judicial system that the innocent people can be wrongfully found guilty and convicted. In the story, Aksionov spent twenty-six years in a Siberian prison camp. No one tried to understand his innocence and made him compel to spend his time in the prison for a long time and now he had nowhere to return to outside the prison.

A notable thing about this situation of the innocent person was the lack of obvious corruption on the part of the judicial system itself which existing across the world. But here, the investigators (police officers and soldiers) were not doing so for money or feeling of the enemity. They found a bloody knife in Aksionov’s bag which they thought was sufficient evidence for them to justify his crime of murder. So, they performed their duty accordingly. Actually, it was not that much miserable situation where a criminal could try to hide his crime and here Makar also did the same thing. But the innocent person, Aksionov got a very cruel punishment of life imprisonment by the court. Aksionov, in this case, was condemned for murder. Thus, one looks at all the more deeply into the fundamental nature of human justice itself: it will always be imperfect. No matter how enlightened our laws might become, or how strict we make our tests against human error and corruption, the innocent people will always be sorted with the guilty. Moreover, it is also noteworthy that the failure is not just an institutional one. It is also a personal one because his close friend hid the knife in his bag which led him to the life imprisonment. It is not only the investigators that are convinced of Aksionov’s guilt, but so too are his closest friends. People that have known him for all his life are swayed by the evidence against him. Even his own wife doubts his innocence. Again, these details reflect these deeper concerns with human error, and how injustice can stem from even among the well intentioned. Thus, Aksionov determines that he can only appeal to God, who alone would know the truth of his innocence. It seems that innocent people would have to depend upon  the mercy of God  for their release as done by Aksionov in the story.