why Tsvetaeva did not love her daughter

If you grew up in large families, then you probably argued at least once with brothers and sisters in childhood, whom your parents love more. Usually mothers and fathers treat all children with the same warmth, or carefully hide their feelings for a particular child. But Tsvetaeva could not hide it – now everyone knows which daughter she loved more, and which one she left to die in agony.

Was it gruesome brutality or the only option? Let’s figure it out in this article.

Hatred for one and unconditional love for another

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The great Russian poetess Marina Tsvetaeva was not only emotionally callous in life, but also previously spoiled and surrounded by servants. She simply did not know how to take care of others and did not particularly like children: once at a dinner with friends, she pricked someone else’s baby with a needle so that she would not touch her shoes.

“Why do I love funny dogs and can’t stand children having fun ?!” she once exclaimed in her diary.

So the girl became a mother … kind of. Until now, contemporaries are arguing about her decency and love for her daughters. However, there is no need to guess for a long time – the pages of the woman’s diaries literally themselves shout about hatred for one of their heiresses.

Negative feelings were also expressed in actions.

“I am terribly sorry for the child – for two years of earthly life there is nothing but hunger, cold and beatings,” wrote Magdana Nachman about the life of a little martyr for whom her mother did not have enough love.

But only one baby became unhappy, since the prose writer immensely adored her eldest daughter Ariadne, especially in infancy: in the first years of the baby’s life, the pages of the young mother were full of enthusiastic phrases about her. Every week Marina Ivanovna recounted all the daughter’s teeth, all the words she knew, described what she could do and how she excelled the other children.

And there was something to describe. Alya (as she was called in abbreviated form in the family) was a match for her brilliant parents. From an early age, she kept diaries, read constantly, expressed interesting thoughts on various issues and even wrote poetry – some of which the poetess published in one of her collections.


The young mother was absolutely confident in the abilities of her first child:

“How do you imagine Alya in the future? What should be a normal daughter of Seryozha and me? .. And you still think that you can have a normal daughter?! .. She, of course, will be an amazing child … By the age of two she will be a beauty. In general, I do not doubt her beauty, intelligence, or brilliance at all … Alya is not at all capricious, – a very lively, but “easy” child, “she wrote about her.

“I can’t love her in any way” – beast poetess

From her quotes, one can understand that Marina had too high expectations for children: she wanted them to grow up unique, unusual and gifted, like herself. And if Alya corresponded to this, then, not noticing Ira’s genius, her mother became angry with her. As a result, Tsvetaeva waved her hand at her second daughter, almost did not care about her and did not invest anything in her. She treated like an animal – with which, by the way, the poetess regularly compared all the children.

For example, when it was necessary to leave the house, and the food left in the apartment had to remain intact, the poetess tied little Ira to a chair or “to the leg of the bed in a dark room” – otherwise, one day, for a short absence from her mother, the girl managed to eat a whole head of cabbage from the closet …


They almost did not pay attention to the baby, and they almost hid it from family friends. Once Vera Zvyagintsova said:

“They chatted all night, Marina recited poetry … When it was a little dawn, I saw an armchair, all wrapped in rags, and my head dangled from the rags – back and forth. This was the youngest daughter Irina, whose existence I still did not know. “

The poetess also showed different tolerance to her daughters: if Ale, in infancy, she forgave damage to wallpaper, eating lime from the walls, bathing in a garbage can and pampering with “matchbox and nasty cigarette boxes”, then Ira, who at the same age could hum one and the same melody, and in the shelter, banging her head against the walls and the floor and constantly swaying, the woman considered underdeveloped.

Ira did not learn new things well, which means she was stupid. Alya refused to go to school, which means she is too smart for her. So, apparently, the young mother thought, based on her notes about the eldest:

“We do not force her; on the contrary, we must stop her development, give her the opportunity to develop physically … I rejoice: I am saved! Alya will read about Byron and Beethoven, write to me in a notebook and “develop physically” – all that I need! “

But, although she loved Alya Marina more, she also sometimes felt unhealthy jealousy and anger towards her:

“When Alya is with children, she is stupid, mediocre, soulless, and I suffer, feel disgust, alienation, I just can’t love,” she wrote about her.

I donated my own children to an orphanage because I didn’t want to work.

Tsvetaeva family

Difficult post-revolutionary years. Hunger. The translator was repeatedly offered help, but she could not accept it because of pride. Although help was needed: there was no money, as well as the opportunity to earn money. The husband is missing.

“I can’t live like this anymore, it will end badly. Thanks for the offer to feed Alya. Now we are all going to lunch at Leela’s. I am not an easy person, and my main grief is to take anything from anyone … Since March I have not known anything about Seryozha … There is no flour, no bread, under the writing table 12 pounds of potatoes, the remainder of a pood “borrowed “Neighbors – the whole supply! .. I live free meals (for children)”, – the girl wrote in a letter to Vera Efron.

Although, they say, in fact, there was an opportunity to work, or there was an option at least to sell jewelry on the market, but the poet could not afford to do “boring business” or humiliate herself at the fair, like some kind of bourgeois!

In order to prevent daughters from starving to death, the poetess passes them off as orphans, forbids them to call her mother, and temporarily takes them to an orphanage. Of course, from time to time she visits the girls and brings them sweets, but it was during that period that the first tragic record about Irina appears: “I never loved her.”

Diseases of girls: the salvation of a beloved and the terrible death of a hated daughter


At the shelter, Ariadne contracted malaria. Severe: with fever, high fever and bloody cough. Marina regularly visited her daughter, fed her, nursed her. When, during such visits, the prose writer was asked why she would not treat the little one at least a little, she almost flew into a rage:

“I pretend not to hear. – God! – Take away from Ali! “Why did Alya get sick, and not Irina? !!”, – she wrote in her diaries.

The words were heard by fate: soon Irina also fell ill with malaria. The woman was unable to cure both of them – she had to choose only one. Of course, it was Alya who turned out to be the lucky one: her mother brought her medicines and sweets, but her sister continued not to notice.

During that period, Tsvetaeva’s attitude towards her youngest daughter became even more obvious: at times she showed not only indifference to her, but also some kind of disgust. This feeling became especially acute after complaints that two-year-old Irochka was screaming from hunger all the time.

Seven-year-old Alya also wrote about this in her letters:

“I ate better at your place and ate more than these. Oh mom! If you knew my melancholy. I cannot live here. I haven’t slept a single night yet. There is no peace from melancholy and from Irina. Longing at night, and Irina at night. Longing during the day, and Irina during the day. Marina, this is the first time in my life that I suffer so much. Oh, how I suffer, how I love you. “

Marina got angry at Ira: “In front of me, she did not dare to utter a word. I recognize her vileness “… Recall that the baby was not even three years old then – what vileness can there be?

ala Tsvetaeva
Alya Tsvetaeva

When Marina came to pick up her beloved daughter (the only one, because she left the youngest to die in the orphanage), she was given all the letters of seven-year-old Ariadne. In them, the girl daily described how unbearably Ira screams from hunger, and how she defecates on the bed due to the gradual failure of organs. Hatred for her younger sister was also transmitted from mother to Ale, which she sometimes spilled out on paper:

“I’m yours! I suffer! Mommy! Irina has done it for a big three times tonight! She poisons my life. “

Tsvetaeva was again outraged by the “vileness” of the child, and she never once visited Ira, who was lying in agony, and did not even give her a piece of sugar or a slice of bread that could alleviate her suffering. Soon Marina heard the expected words “Your child died of hunger and longing.” The woman did not come to the funeral.

“Now I don’t think much about her, I have never loved her in the present, I have always been a dream – I loved her when I came to see Lilya and saw her fat and healthy, I loved her this fall, when the nanny brought her from the village, admired her wonderful hair. But the sharpness of the novelty passed, the love cooled down, I was annoyed by her stupidity (my head was just plugged with a cork!) Her dirt, her greed, I somehow did not believe that she would grow up – although I did not think about her death at all – it was just a creature without of the future … Irina’s death is as surreal to me as her life. “I don’t know the disease, I didn’t see her sick, I wasn’t present at her death, I didn’t see her dead, I don’t know where her grave is,” these words concluded the unfortunate mother of her daughter’s life.

How was the fate of Ariadne

Ariadna Tsvetaeva
Ariadna Tsvetaeva

Ariadne was a gifted person, but her talents were never destined to fully reveal themselves – Ariadna Sergeevna Efron spent a significant part of her life in Stalin’s camps and Siberian exile.

When she was rehabilitated, she was already 47 years old by that time. Ariadne had a bad heart, she experienced repeated hypertensive crises in her youth.

For 20 years after her release from exile, Tsvetaeva’s daughter was engaged in translations, collected and systematized her mother’s literary heritage. Ariadne Efron died in the summer of 1975 at the age of 63 from a massive heart attack.

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