The Cherry Orchard Symbolic Meaning Essay Research

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The Cherry Orchard -Symbolic Meaning Essay, Research Paper “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” This quote by Anais Nin expresses an essential point of view for this discussion about the symbolic meaning of inanimate objects, since it is our personality and our memories, which determine our character and meaning. Our feelings towards certain objects are individual, as everyone associates different things in a different manner. Insofar, “we see them as we are”, since they can mirror our past, pains, hopes and our ideals. Thus they become more than just an object, but a symbol for a certain part of someone’s feelings and life. This is also the case in “The Cherry Orchard”: objects as the nursery room, the bookcase and the cherry orchard take

on their own symbolic life. They all share one thing in common: each one reveals something of the characters’ personalities, feelings and ideals. These inanimate objects are a reflection of the characters’ inner states of being. The meaning of these inanimate objects are changing analogously with the characters’ change of mood, perspective and state of mind. Thus one gets the impression that the objects are more like persons, since it is only the characters’ life, which makes and keeps them alive. The nursery room may be for an outstanding person without any implicit significance, but for Lopakhin and Liuba it is a symbol for their childhood, background and past. The nursery room reminds Lopakhin of his origins. It makes him aware that he is “just a peasent” (p.334);

no matter how rich he has become or how elegant he might be dressed, his social background still remains visible for other people. After all, one “can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”(p.334), as his origins will be for good a part of his identity. For Liuba the nursery room symbolizes her “innocent childhood” (p.347). Being in this room, in which “she used to sleep when she was little” (p.336) seems to bring her back to feel a part of that secure, carefree life and makes her feel “little again”(p.336). The bookcase has the same effect on her; all her troubles seem to be far away and she feels pure “happiness” (p.342). Gayevs’ ‘relationship’ to the bookcase is less personal, as he doesn’t associate a particular personal memory with it. He

considers it rather as an object, which has its own personality; hence, though it is “an inanimate object, true, but still – a bookcase (p.345)”! The way he sees it is reminiscent of a hero, as it has for already hundred years “devoted itself to the highest ideals of goodness and justice” (p.345) and has never deceived anyone. Being constantly and unshakably true to its ‘principles’, it was a source, from which “several generations of their family”(p.345) have drawn courage and hope “in a better future”(p.345). In the course of time a lot of things have changed: some people are dead, Gayev and Liuba got adolescent, and the estate is probably going to be sold. However, the bookcase not being subject to any rules or changes, thus becomes for Gayev a symbol of

consistency and security. The central symbol of “The Cherry Orchard”, as the title might suggest, is the cherry orchard itself. The cherry orchard does not only represent an inanimate object, but it is the center of the characters’ world. Their lives could be divided into the era “before the cherry orchard was sold” (p.301) and into the era after it. With this change the symbolic meaning of the cherry orchard before and after the sale also changes. The cherry orchard ‘before the sale’ plays a part in each of the characters’ past; but it seems foremost to be part of Liuba’s mind, through which the cherry orchard takes on his own symbolic life, as its symbolic meaning changes with the changes in her mind. She “can’t conceive to live without the cherry