'Misery' by Antov Chekhov

Essay by Curtis MooreA-, November 1996

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In the story 'Misery' by Antov Chekhov, I identified despair and misery as a theme. The surroundings amplify the sentiment of the main character, Iona Potapov. Cold and gray surrounds' Iona Potapov and he is extremely miserable. Iona Potapov wants to speak to another human about his son's death but no one will listen. Failing to speak with any humans, Iona is resigned to speak with his horse.

At the beginning of the story Anton Chekhov sets the environment for the story. 'The twilight of evening.' (30) While reading this story, I envision the scenery by what Anton Chekhov wrote. 'Big flakes of wet snow are whirling lazily about the street lamps, which have just been lighted, and lying in a thin soft layer on the roofs, horses' backs, shoulders, caps.' (30) The picture portrayed is that of dull, gloomy, sludge and gray ash covering all of the surrounding areas.

' The familiar gray landscape.' (30)

The dis-pair and loneliness that Iona feels are sorrow. 'May it do you good . . . But my son is dead, mate . . . Do you hear?' (33). Iona desperately wants to tell about his sons' death, and how it is affecting him. 'He wants to tell how his son was taken ill, how he suffered, what he said before he died, how he died'(34). Ionas' son has died, and he feels as though it should have been he to the grave instead of his youthful son. 'My son ought to be driving not I'(34).

The gray dismal surroundings entrap Iona and make the desolation worse for him. 'Iona Potapov, the sledge-driver, is all white like a ghost' (30). 'He sits on the box without stirring, bent as double as the living body can be bent' (30). 'He cannot think about...