How The Steel Was Tempered

How The Steel Was Tempered

How The Steel Was Tempered

How the Steel Was Tempered (Russian: Как закалялась сталь, Kak zakalyalas' stal' ) is a socialist realist novel written by Nikolai Ostrovsky(1904–1936). Pavel Korchagin is the central character


The story is a fictionalized autobiography. In real life, Ostrovsky's father died, and his mother worked as a kitchen chef. As he joined the war with the Red Army, he lost his right eye from artillery fire during the civil war.


  • Pavel Korchagin – The novel's protagonist. He is fighting on the Bolsheviks' side in the Civil War (1918–1921). He is a quintessential positive hero of socialist realism.
  • Tonia Toumanova – Pavel's teenage love. Tonia and Pavel became good friends after their first encounter, which later develops into an intimate relationship. Though born of a wealthy and influential family, Tonia treated everyone equally unlike her friends, who only interact with other children of well-reputed families. However, this changed as she grew up, as she became more aware of her appearance and social status of others.


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