It appears to me that Pavel is always waiting for the worst to happen and ‘throws himself on the altar of human sacrifice’ in this chilling little tale. Firstly he sacrifices his teaching job by denouncing a colleague on the ‘say so’ of his students and then probably realises his mistake. He is tortured by the death of his wife and the disappearance of his friend Semyon. Is his redemption (in his own mind), I wonder, the inferred self-sacrifice in the end in order to save Babel’s manuscripts, his mother and Victor and his family? Charlotte

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