Story Analysis of ‘God Sees The Truth But Waits’ by Leo Tolstoy


It’s Day 18 of the #A2ZChallenge. This year, I invite you to read and discuss short stories with me. Each day, I bring you a ‘Read of the Day,’ a short story in English, so that we can indulge in the joy of reading. You can visit my site daily for a short story with analysis and participate in the discussion in the comments.

Read of the Day 

Today, we will read God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy. You can read the short story online here.

About the Author 

Leo Tolstoy is a Russian author considered among the greatest authors of all time. He’s been nominated several times for the Novel Prize in Literature and Peace categories for several years but never won and considered a highly controversial omission. Tolstoy’s famous works include War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and he’s written over a dozen short stories, several novellas, plays, and essays. He has been a significant influence on the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

Story Analysis 

 God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy is a poignant story that explores the themes of love, forgiveness, and morality.  

 Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov sets out on a journey despite his wife’s insistence that he doesn’t travel due to her premonition. He is soon falsely charged for murder and imprisoned for twenty-six long years. Even his wife doubts his innocence and moves on with her life with their children. 

It is then that Aksionov realizes that no one else except God knows the truth apart him, and it is in HIm that he must place his trust and hope in. Aksionov earns the love and respect of his peers in the jail, and they look up to him for his opinions, views, and judgement on any issues. He’s also chosen as the mediator between the jail authorities and the prison inmates. 

Aksionov finally comes face-to-face with Makar Semyonich and soon realizes that he is the real murderer. Engulfed with anger, Aksionov is restless about his next course of action. In the meanwhile, he catches Semyonich red-handed for building an escape tunnel. Semyonich threatens him with dire consequences, to which Aksionov replies he couldn’t care any less as he’s been robbed of his life years ago. 

When the prison authorities discover the escape tunnel and question the prisoners about the culprit, everyone feigns ignorance out of fear of Semyonich. When it comes to Aksionov’s turn, even though he’s not scared of Semyonich, he doesn’t reveal his name to the authorities. 

That night, Semyonich confesses his crime to Aksionov and begs for pardon. He volunteers to confess to the prison authorities about his past crime for which Aksionov was falsely imprisoned. And he does so too, but by then, Aksionov is dead. 

The story has a clear message about taking a moral stand – to choose love, kindness, and forgiveness in times of hatred and injustice. Aksionov might have been physically dead at the end, but his evolution as a human being spiritually set him free forever. 

God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy is a deep, philosophically rich story that reminds you of the mortality and futility of life and the preparation for the real journey thereafter. 

*I’m participating in the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge.

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.