The tale ends simply with the question, "What would that life be like? Steppe was published in , the year Chekhov was awarded the Russian Academy's prestigious Pushkin prize. Sweeping in theme and long in length, it marked a major turning point in the twenty-eight-year-old author's career.
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For instance, his lyrical inventory of "[t]he sun-baked hills, brownish-green and violet in the distance, with their quiet shadowy tones, the plain with the misty distance and, flung above them, the sky" evidences Chekhov's profound engagement with this environment. But the author does not refrain from also conveying the dreariness and "oppressive" heat of the plains.
Little ironic flourishes such as, "the disillusioned steppe began to wear its jaded July aspect," tell us much about the landscape's coarseness as well as its more poetic qualities. Thus, Chekhov's hymn to the steppe of his youth—which would later be developed by an army of western industrialists—is in keeping with the awesome majesty of its terrain. Readers both marvel and shudder at its vast scope which, if it does not entirely dwarf the characters, at least trivializes their concerns.
Like young Yegorushka, we too tune out to the adult characters' dry sermonizing on education to let our eyes roam the countryside.
Our reactions to the steppe's magnificence are further heightened by Chekhov's use of a child protagonist. We thus read how "[t]he blackness in the sky yawned wide and breathed white fire," while the stillness of night was troubled by a "growl of thunder.
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Readers feel the alien power of the steppe through Yegorushka's awed descriptions of terrific storms, endless vistas, and strange, haunting sounds. But there is also silence on the plain, and even the occasional birdcall fails to "stir the stagnation" settling over the parched ground. We thus see how the author interweaves episodes of frenetic activity with silence to hint at the timeless immensity of the land. Even the plethora of supporting characters—the genial and diminutive priest, the refined Countess, and the sadistic wagon driver Dymov—fail to divert our attention for too long away from the landscape.
Chekhov, of course, does not intend them to: it almost seems that he downplays plot in order to emphasize setting. Rayfield notes that many story lines—such as Kuzmichov's search for Varlamov, and the Countess's mysterious appearance at the inn—just "peter out," as though such action is secondary to the text's central focus. Ultimately, we see that Chekhov's tale is a testament to the boundless natural world; against the steppe, human lives seem episodic and impermanent.
Chronicling the Non-Event: Anton Chekhov and the Short Story
Chekhov Stories by: Anton Chekhov. Andrei Rabin. Themes Motifs Symbols Key Facts. Important Quotations Explained.
Chronicling the Non-Event: Anton Chekhov and the Short Story - PopMatters
Summary Steppe The Story of a Journey. Summary The tale opens with a priest, Father Khristofor Siriysky, and a merchant, Ivan Kuzmichov, traveling across the Steppe to sell some wool.
Previous section Ward No. The character of Ryabovitch pitted against the unexpected circumstances he finds himself in acts as a representation for broader human life. The rest of the essay will outline the summary, and analyze the themes and literary aspects of the story. When the officers of a reserve artillery brigade pass through the countryside as part of their military excursion, they are invited for tea by local landlord and retired General von Rabbek.
The Kiss by Anton Chekhov: Summary & Analysis
The invitation was largely a matter of courtesy and formality, as the General could have very little genuine interest in entertaining a group of officers unknown and unconnected to him. The event begins on an awkward note, but is soon smoothened by banter, good food and music. When music is played, the young officers choose attractive young women from the gathering to dance in duet. What should be a pleasurable evening out for most is quite the opposite for one young officer called Ryabovitch, who is the central character of the story.
Ryabovitch is a shy, lean and modest staff-captain, who regards himself as unattractive. He could be true about this assessment of himself, or it could have born of his low self-esteem. Either way, he finds social occasions discomforting, especially if it involves attractive young women. He tries to minimize his discomfort by joining a group of officers in the billiards room, but soon gets bored.
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