A Russia of Iron & Gastev

Gastev’s poem “We Grow out of Iron” is a short, but powerful poem about the rise of a new Russia, one made of iron.  Utilizing iron as a motif, Gastev evokes that the new Russia is unlike anything in its history.

Iron has long been a symbol of strength, power, and industry in a variety of art forms and Gastev utilizes all three of these themes to create an image of the new Soviet Union.  Beginning with the aspect of strength, Gastev incorporates height, writing about beams that rise “to a height of seventy feet” (Gastev).  No other building material in use at the time could achieve the same heights that iron can.  Gastev uses this fact to show how the Soviet Union is rising anything that was in place before it, which could only be built from brick, wood, or stone.

Gastev also uses iron to show the sheer power that only metal can provide.  Gastev’s narrator declares that he is “growing shoulders of steel and arms immeasurably strong” (Gastev).  Gastev uses this to evoke the newly found strength of the Soviet Union and its unbreakable will to continue to progress.

Gastev, most importantly, uses iron as a symbol for industry in the Soviet Union.  No longer is Russia an agricultural state, but is now a nation of factories, furnaces, and forges. With constant references to metal architecture, the Soviet Union is not a country of small wooden huts, but of massive iron mills.