traditional Russian peasant society, Goncharov's Oblomov, marriage


Young women in traditional Russian peasant society had little, if any, choice about whom they married. The choice of a spouse was most often made by the father, although occasionally the mother would also have a say in the decision. Olga, a character in Goncharov's Oblomov, says of young women, "We do not marry, but we are given in marriage." The tradition that women had relatively little say in the matter is further highlighted by traditional folk lyrics young betrothed girls would sing, such as: "I've been given away" and "They are making me marry a lout." Laments such as these exemplify that women often thought they had no control over the choice of marriage partner, which was generally true.