Anton Chekhov Essay Research Paper Anton Chekhov

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Anton Chekhov Essay, Research Paper Anton Chekhov Life and Influences Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860 in Taganrog, Russia, the third of six children. His father, Pavel, was a grocer and his mother, Yevgeniya, was the daughter of a cloth merchant. In1875 Pavel’s business failed and, threatened with imprisonment, he fled to Moscow. Yevgeniya remained behind with Anton and his younger siblings, but soon lost the house to a local bureaucrat. At this point, she joined Pavel in Moscow taking all the children, with the exception of Anton whom she left behind to attend school and support himself. After completing his early studies, Anton received a scholarship to study medicine at the Moscow University and at this point reunited with his family. During this time, the

family continued to be plagued by financial hardship. In an effort to help support them, Anton began to write humorous short stories for comic magazine. As time went by, Chekhov developed a love of writing, preferring this to the practice of medicine, and devoted himself to his craft. After 1880, his work shifted toward more serious subject matter and is filled with realistic views of the suffering of the poor, no doubt in memory of the struggles his own family had endured. Comments and Concepts An Upheaval is classified as a short story, but does not follow the traditional short story structure as defined by Freytag’s Triangle. The story begins in medias res as Mashenka enters a household already in turmoil. Rather than at the beginning, the exposition takes place throughout

the story as Mashenka’s thoughts and actions reveal her background and place within the household. At the end of the story, the reader is left without resolution. This abrupt end to the action without an resolving the conflict is known as a zero ending. The story An Upheaval is a slice-of-life narrative. Chekhov offers a dispassionate observation of life within an upper-class household. There is no deep psychological profiles within the story; all the characters are merely stereotypes. The view is naturalistic, with the socioeconomic background of the characters influencing their every action. The lady of the house believes she is well within her rights to search her servant’s quarters when her brooch has gone missing. When Mashenka is upset by the search, the maidservant

Liza reminds her somewhat delicately of her place by stating “still you are? as it were? a servant”. An Upheaval displays a rite of passage. At the beginning of the story, Mashenka is a simplistic child. She believes herself to be more than a mere servant within the household. Mashenka feels personally violated when she discovers a search of her room has been made without her knowledge. Mashenka leaps into adulthood when she realizes that although she is hired help and is, therefore, in a lesser position she is still a person within her own right. Rather than allow them to violate her sense of personal integrity, Mashenka decides to leave. Key Quotations “Mashenka went into her room, and then, for the first time in her life, it was her lot to experience in all its acuteness

the feeling that is so familiar to persons in dependent positions, who eat the bread of the rich and powerful, and cannot speak their minds.” Mashenka begins to recognize her place within the household and within society. She acknowledges that her life is controlled by others. “Though you are a young lady, still you are?as it were?a servant?” Liza forces Mashenka to acknowledge that she is a servant like the rest of them, nothing more. “I don’t say she took the brooch, but can you answer for her? To tell the truth, I haven’t much confidence in these learned paupers.” The lady of the house removes all humanity from her servants. They are nothing more to her than beasts of burden. “Forgive me, Nikolay Sergeitch, but I cannot remain in your house. I feel deeply