Chekhov's Distinguishing Characteristics

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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If Mr. Anton Chekhov were part of our short story class he would have been able to fulfill most of the assignments easily. I have trouble getting to the point of a story and when the assignment calls for a simple answer and can't but wonder what that answer is, I constantly write narratives. Chekhov unlike other writers, then and now, did not take much time to set a scene or feel it was relevant to describes characters in his stories, because he felt the reader was beyond that. He did not have to write line after line to start his story. In fact Chekhov ever did. Chekhov usually jumped right into his stories. He mastered the art of starting the story by setting the scene and describing a character in a sentence or two, which was usually the start of the story. This was revolutionary, having little and even no beginning to his stories.

Chekhov's work left us wanting more. Some of his stories end quickly but clear and leave us wanting more. Somehow we want the characters to have something better coming because we put ourselves in their place. A good writer makes you feel that way and Chekhov does.

Although it seems Chekhov is leaving something for the imagination he is doing just the opposite. He wanted to answer questions people have about everyday life. Maybe he did this so the people, the reader, could handle every day problems a little bit easier. What was distinctive about Chekhov, in comparison to other writers, was that Chekhov did not take himself very seriously. Writing was just a way for him to make some extra money, and if he released his passions through his pen then it was even better. Chekhov's work was also different in his lack of quality work. In my opinion readers could relate to his work because he did not want to tell you a story, but wanted to take the reader for a ride and let you see what he was seeing. The way that he started his stories showed this. For example he could have started a story by having a conversation with a clerk. He would not explain how he got there or who the clerk was, but you could feel the tension in the air if there was tension.

Chekhov's work was also distinguishable as he wrote as a young man and then as an adult. He was daring and stayed away from stereotypes, not everything had to be serious and that is how the reader relates to him. Life is just life and Chekhov understood this so you can see a lot of himself in his stories. He shows emotion and feeling as he writes. This is another reason why you can almost tell his age from his stories.

Chekhov was beyond his time and work and it showed the psychological and moral side of his stories. He also introduced a key symbol at the beginning of his stories, then in the middle and again at the end. Which emphasized the symbol and materializing the symbol in the readers mind. Chekhov tried to have the reader realize they had to be understanding of life's problems and laugh about things not because they were humorous but because that is how you reach humility.

Chekhov's work also had irony in but instead of something being ironic he was able to show irony through people's actions. He generally emphasized the role of science in his work. He used examples like the soul and the human body. In his story Anyuta he shows how an artist can be so patient about a woman's body that he has to study it. He enjoys every curve and sees the body not as an image that he will paint on a paper but as something that will make him more than just an artist. What's ironic here is that he speaks of the woman as an object that he will toss aside when he is done.

After reading Chekhov's criticisms I feel like he was a very down to earth rider. His pride or ego did not drive him to write, but the thought of passing some wisdom or helping someone realize life is not everything made him a better writer.