Set texts for the primary school final exam include a few foreign titles:
How about Polish literature? One example:
The Labors of Sisyphus by Zeromski written in 19 th century. It shows school life in the Russian-controlled zone of partitioned Poland. Polish students, first passive and indifferent to national issues, slowly begin to resist the policy of Russification imposed by the Tsarist authorities.The Tsarist Russian occupiers try hard to indoctrinate Poles but it is obvious their endeavours will prove futile - hence, the title.
Why is this set text peculiar? Because I remember doing it in my primary school in communist times. Amazing, isn`t it? I still wonder if communists knew exactly what they were doing by making Polish students read it so extensively. I must say the book helped me understand a lot of things and develop my proper attitude towards indoctrination at the time. Coz we were also pressed and indoctrinated - e.g., learning Russian was compulsory from grade 5!
I still remember my essay that won the first prize in our school competition - I wrote about attitudes of young Poles under Russian occupation. They could be divided into 3 groups:
1. merrymakers mainly from rich families, they focused on partying, girls, games, fun.
2. loyalists - the ones who obediently followed all Russian rules and orders
3. patriots - the ones who decided to resist Russification.
Guess which group I wanted to belong to? hahaha
Here is a famous scene from the book which shows the moment of the national awakening in the passive class after they listen to a patriotic poem previously banned by Russian authorities.