• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests his critique of a social system that destroys their identity as individuals. In the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, readers are exposed to the various classes

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests his critique of a social system that destroys their identity as individuals. In the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, readers are exposed to the various classes in Russian society and the way in which each individual class is treated and viewed. One of these classes, the servant class, is represented by three characters who each possess different qualities and features that promote the idea that they have had their identities stripped as a result of their status in society. Feers, Yasha and Dooniasha symbolize different stages of Russian society and its evolution, a concept which is brought out in the way in which they are treated. As a result of revolution, the servants' identity as individuals change too, and only when serfdom was abolished did these people have their own identity. The oldest servant is Feers, who spent his life serving faithfully and loyally to the family. Despite a reformation that allowed serfs to attain freedom, he chose to remain and "stayed with the Master and the Mistress", showing his commitment to serve although there were opportunities that could have bettered his life. When asked by Liubov of his intention after the orchard was sold, he said, "I'll go wherever you order me to." ...read more.

Middle

He fails to understand that, as a servant, it is his duty to do what he is told without question - he reacts to Ania in a way that is not expected of a servant. While Feers chooses to let Liubov decide his future, Yasha makes sure that he is safe, asking Liubov to "do me a favour and take me with you [to Paris]". Yasha is unashamed to approach the mistress of the house for a favour, certainly acting out of his place when he does so. If Yasha had not done so, readers get the impression that he may have ended up like Feers, reiterating that servants have no identity of their own. A similar character to Yasha is Dooniasha, who also has a different ideal of her position in the house as Feers. Like Yasha, Dooniasha acts above her status, constantly powdering her nose and speaking of her delicateness. Despite being reminded by Lopakhin to "remember your place", she still mingles with the upper class, and even kisses Ania when she returns from France. This act of affection shows her desire to be an equal with the superior class. When she tells of her experiences and stories, she is also ignored by the upper class, showing how little attention she is being paid. ...read more.

Conclusion

The servant class, to an intellectual, is the most unfairly treated class as they do not receive the respect and appreciation they should be getting despite their service. Being "people you don't admit further than the kitchen" demonstrates the servants' lowly status as well as the poor treatment they receive. This attitude that is shown to the servants shows their insignificance and inferiority, suggesting their lack of identity. From these views of Trofimov, Chekhov is offered an opportunity to express his notion of this social class. Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests that their members have had their identity destroyed. Feers, Yasha and Dooniasha are not taken seriously by those of the upper class and this is shown through the ungrateful treatment they receive. Through their personalities and individual goals in life, the servants are seen to not have a definite destination in their lives. This sense of powerlessness and the dependence on their masters to dictate, in a way, their future is the social criticism that Chekhov has for the servant class. The difference in which Feers, a symbol of the past, and Yasha and Dooniasha, symbols of the present, are treated shows a step towards freedom for the serfs. However, while the servant class existed in society, Chekhov's critique suggests a class that relied on others for their own lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard 1 Samantha Mak ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. What effects did World War One have on social classes?

    Tim Brooker AA312 R8413113 TMA 03 I will now consider the effects of World War I on the different classes separately. I shall begin with the class that lost the most, in terms of " political influence, economic position and social standing across Europe." (Unit 7-10 page 98). The aristocrats.

  2. The Cherry Orchard is pessimistic in its analysis of social transition.

    I'm rich now, with lots of money, but just think about it and examine me, and you'll find I'm still a peasant down to the marrow of my bones" (Chekhov, 2). Lopakhin reveals almost immediately his insecurities about his peasant background despite being a wealthy man.

  1. classifications and social identity What have you learnt thus far about your identity and/or ...

    society a number of important factors arise such as, 'What are the categories?' 'Who makes them and who may change them?' and 'When and why do they become visible?' This particular area enabled me to further question my identity. Did my life really relate to certain classifications in society?

  2. Discuss the view that social class is no longer the most important source of ...

    A key argument of the article is that most people are defensive about their class status, preferring to be regarded as 'ordinary' or 'normal'. Many respondents in the study experience class mobility. This means that they do not stay in one class position permanently, but change over the course of their life.

  1. Explore conflicting accounts of Jewish Identity in

    Whilst travelling within Jerusalem she is constantly questioned about her Judaism. When asked about her origins Barbara states that she is "A half-Jew"[9][9]. This is met with anger by many of the Israelis who state that she is not a half-Jew at all due to the fact that Jewishness is

  2. Discuss the portrayal of Indian society in this poem.

    even the people in the lower castes of the Varna did not have any sort of idea who Rukmini was, when Binu's husband asked after her at the station. The word blankly shows that even though Rukmini had worked and lived at the train station for years, she was still

  1. Is class a useful concept in explaining social action? It has been argued that ...

    Social classes play a role in transforming societies, with Marx claiming that classes are "social forces, historical actors", with groups making their own history, though sometimes through circumstances beyond their control (e.g. due to an oppressive leading authority). His Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1962)

  2. Consider how the portrayal of the female characters in "Hobson's Choice" relates to the ...

    Of course, there were always exceptions to each case. For instance, a high-class family may have seven or eight children, a middle class woman may have enough money to hire a governess for her children, or maybe a working class family had enough money to send all their children, including girls, to school.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work