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Commentary on the second half of Act 3 in Aton Chekovs The Cherry Orchard

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Introduction

World Literature Assignment 2c Commentary on the second half of Act 3 in Aton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard Session: May 2010 Candidate number: 000480 010 Word Count: 1054 This passage is taken from the second half of Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, the story of a Russian family as it deals with problems of family and finance. Alongside the death of the father and his only son, the two daughters - Varya and Anya - and their uncle find themselves having to face Lyubov, an escapist mother, and the potential loss of all their property. In the aforementioned extract in Act 3, which is the climax of the play, the entire family finds itself in Lyubov's ironically extravagant and completely whimsical party while they await news from the auctioning of the orchard. Chekov amplifies the anticipation and suspense in the scene through varied diction and syntax within intensely paced dialogue. The resulting atmosphere, aided by a clever vehicle, ultimately highlights the dominant theme of closure as opposed to ambiguity as different characters have different reactions towards the life-altering revelation of a family friend. ...read more.

Middle

As Firs rants through the scene, he is effectively established as a one-dimensional figure with a consistent inability to let go of the past. As his conservativeness obstructs his capacity to absorb the potential loss of the cherry orchard, readers are left with a sense of uncertainty with respect to his fate. Similar yet more significant in the scene is Lyubov herself, who is "overcome" and faints at the news of the sale of the orchard. Her incapacity to accept the circumstances and her loss of something so close to her heart restricts her from fully obtaining closure. Upon hearing the first part of the news from her brother Gayev, she inquires "sold to whom?" giving readers an impression of the fixation of her thoughts revolving around the orchard. The distress and grief that she feels is made evident through numerous stage directions: in page 372, she talks "impatiently, through tears"; she "sinks into a chair and weeps bitterly" when she hears of Lopakhim's purchase of the estate in page 376. ...read more.

Conclusion

He now finds himself the owner of the estate in which his parents were once serfs, a significant fact that acts as a vehicle for the dynamic aspect of his own character. As a result of his meaningful initiative, Lopakhim is pegged as a figure that has no trouble flowing with the current of time towards the future. As the reader approaches the end of the passage, the underlying irony of the scene, evoked by the emotional extremes shown between characters, serves to masterfully convey a message of morals. Through the use of diction and syntax specific to each figure, Chekov successfully creates an intensely paced series of dialogues that provide a subtle yet clear indication as to who receive closure after the turn of events and who do not. The physical health of each character acts as a conceptual metaphor for their individual tone: while Lopakhim is elated and seemingly immune to pain, Lyubov actually loses consciousness and at the same time Firs appears to be nearing his final moments. As the climax of the play finally arrives, Chekovs reveals the true nature of each character and thus effectively conveys the theme of closure versus ambiguity. ...read more.

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