He is Grusha’s brother and husband to Aniko.
A henpecked person is one who is constantly under the control of his wife or girlfriend. Lavrenti is henpecked by his wife, Aniko, who is a staunch Christian. When Grusha arrives at his home, his first reaction is to worry about what his wife will say. He tells her, “(quietly, quickly) is there s father? (As she shakes her head) I thought not. We must think up something. She’s religious.” (p.45)
His wife will not allow Grusha to stay in their home with a child without a father and Lavrenti has to lie to her that she is married and that her husband has gone to war.
- Fearful / cowardly / timid
Lavrenti is so fearful about what his wife will say when she sees Grusha with a child and no father he warns her that she cannot stay there for long because Aniko is religious.
Because of his cowardice, he is unable to defend Grusha even when she has to be hidden in a dark dingy workroom away from people. The singer comments, “The cowardly brother…gives her shelter.” (p.47)
- Deceitful / dishonest / untrustworthy /untruthful / insincere.
Lavrenti is deceitful when he lies to his wife that Grusha is married and that she is on her way to the other side of the mountain to meet her husband who is in the war.
He is dishonest when he plans for Grusha to marry a ‘dying peasant’ so that she can have a home and a farm.
He is also untrustworthy when he takes Aniko’s milk money and uses it to pay off the Mother-in-Law for the wedding to take place.
- Crafty / cunning / wily / scheming.
He cunningly schemes a plan to wed Grusha and in the process, save himself from Aniko’s wrath. He arranges a secret wedding between a ‘dying man’ – Jussup and Grusha without informing Aniko or even Grusha herself. He cleverly convinces Grusha that she will only get a husband on paper and not in her bed. He says, “You don’t need a man in bed. You need a man on paper…and when you met him, he was at the last gap. You’re a widow. What do you say?” (p.49)
He does not want Grusha and Aniko to talk and he calculatingly tells Aniko to go and look after the cake herself. He says, “Would you look after the cake yourself dear.” (p.46)
He tries to hide Aniko’s weaknesses and religiosity by telling Grusha that, “she has a good heart but she is very, very sensitive.” (p.48)
He even tells Grusha that Aniko is very worried about her husband who is in the war. He says, “You can’t imagine how worried about your soldier-husband…she says and lies awake.” (p.48)
Lavrenti plays a pivotal role in:
- Plot development – he offers shelter to Grusha and he is the reason why she chooses to embark on her journey to the Northern Mountains. He also arranges for the marriage between Grusha and Jussup.
- Theme development – he is instrumental in the development of themes such as: filial love, betrayal, materialism and societal decadence.
- Character development – he contributes in developing characters like: Grusha, Aniko, Mother-in-Law and the Monk.
- Style development – helps in developing literary styles such as: irony when he ‘helps’ his sister by arranging for her a marriage to a ‘dying man’. Satire when he is scared of his wife to the extent of speaking in low tones and lying to her.
- Identify and illustrate the character traits of Aniko
- What role does Aniko play in the text?
Next character: Mother-in-law