While the description in other sections is highly technical, this page focuses on the significance and consequences of those processes. Coming towards the end of the book, it serves as the “climax” to an admittedly non-traditional story arc. The refinery-under-construction is dynamic, as it is throughout the rest of the book, but here that dynamism is part of its very construction rather than a result of its operation.
The refinery structures are depicted in detail, corresponding to the specificity of the descriptions provided by the text. However, the workers are shown as anonymous silhouettes devoid of facial features or even defining clothing. The only non-generic thing visible as part of the silhouette is a faint suggestion of a hard hat. Defined exclusively by their role as laborers, these workers fit the Socialist Realist model of the “everyman,” a figure that stood in for the reader by virtue of their lack of clear identifying characteristics. For a child reading the book, these workers could be seen as both role models and future versions of themselves.
Although the description of the oil refinery process would have been challenging for a child to understand, the visual design of this accompanying page would support the child’s reading comprehension. The illustrations use only four basic colors: red, brown, black, and blue. The color scheme is simplistic and not realistic. The cylinders in reality would have likely not been a bright red color. The illustrator colored the machinery to indicate which parts of the factory worked on a similar process to enable the reader to visually understand which aspects of the machinery worked together. The reader sees the image from the perspective of a worker, emphasizing how laborers approached the machinery. If an adult reading the novel to a child was familiar with the oil refinery process, the adult would find this perspective as a useful frame of reference to translate his or her own working experience to the child.
In order for crude oil to be useful as a source of fuel, it must be distilled in a refinery, most commonly through cracking, isomerisation, and reforming. Cracking breaks down hydrocarbon molecules into smaller and more useful molecules. It occurs at high temperatures by steam cracking, which creates alkenes, and by catalytic cracking, which creates branched and cyclic alkanes. After the cracking process, the oil goes through a fractional distillation column to be separated.
In Baku, away from the oil fields, there is banging, rumbling bustling.
There the first cracking facility of Soviet construction is being built.
We’ve had enough overpaying America for its machines.
After a few years, our technology will surpass the capitalists’. On all our oil fields are growing our own, Soviet cracking facilities.
Not for nothing are the shock brigades working. Nor for nothing are the oil fields competing between themselves