Wild Children In the beginning of the 1920’s, Russia was controlled by a communist era. Everyone struggled to survive in a country they have considered their own. Parents were taken away, children were stolen from homes. Everyone was oppressed from the right to live freely. Felice Holman, author of the book the Wild Children centers her book on how the children of Russia in the 1920’s sought refuge to survive and pushed through the limitation of childhood caused by societal revolution especially in this period where vulnerability for children is very evident.
Wild Children talks about Peter and Alex that in the midst of a land deprived from liberty for children, these two characters rose to the precipice of the unknown and risked their own freedom to help and lead the wild children of Russia escape to the land of freedom. Peter is the leader of Jacob the Baker’s band. Who sought refuge and food not only for himself but also for the rest of the wild children whom he considered his family. His leadership over his band reflects the authority that is shown by a father over his family.
An authority of love, concern, and discipline yet with rules and laws to follow in order to maintain equality within. “Peter’s rules demanded… to perform bodily functions” (Holman46) in order for them to keep peace and camaraderie within. He made sets of laws to divide among the children in order to function and survive as a band, just like a family. Although his character is focused on being a father figure over the band, he does not only show compassion over his band but also towards the other wild children he does not even know.
He refused the chance to escape Russia but instead came “back for the others in the family” (148). Peter came back not because he needed to but rather because he knew what it is like to be left in the midst of a hopeless society. He sought opportunity to serve other children like him and because he also felt the band the wild children all shared together- a bond that is almost like a family. The other character that made an impact to help the wild children escape is Alex. He risked his freedom when he led the band to Basil, a man who planned and helped for their escape.
Although Alex knew that “they would see him as a street waif and thief and throw him down the steps head first” (125) nevertheless he still went on. He knew that Basil is the only hope he and his band has and if he doesn’t take and risk the opportunity now, they might not have been able to escape to a land of freedom. Alex made the decision because he knew that deep within these children is the eagerness to push aside anxiety, cold, the pain of separation, loss, and loneliness.
He felt that this band became one with him, sharing and surviving together. From all the struggles they all went through together he felt that “they are…friends, and yes…family” (130). Deep within, everyone in the band connected to each other with their hope that one day life would be all right. Peter and Alex’s experience marked their purpose to serve their fellow wild children. Their purpose in the society united them by heart and the purpose that defined their being. Peter and Alex saw the need and they responded to the need.
And that is to make a change in their generation. Russia during the 1920’s may have been a nightmare to a lot of children’s souls during that time. But this era somehow sparked visions and hopeful hearts through the children who never lose heart. This era may have caused children like Peter and Alex to dare to dream for themselves and their generation and be an example of hope for generations to come in Russia. Works Cited Holman, Felice. The Wild Children. New York: Puffin Books, 1983.