The Darling Essay, Research Paper
The short story, “The Darling” by Anton Chekhov, centers on the life of a woman name Olenka. Olenka is a gentle and compassionate girl who needs to be always fond of someone. Her first husband Kukin is a manager for an outside theater. They are good together, and Olenka not only helps her husband in his business, but also imitates his opinions about everything. Unfortunately, Kukin dies on a business trip to Moscow. After receiving the telegram about his death, Olenka is devastated. For a time, she is very heart-broken and lonely, until she grows affection for Pustovalov. Pustovalov is a timber merchant who helps Olenka through the loss of Kukin. Once again Olenka marries, and is seen adopting someone else s beliefs and opinions as she does in Pustovalov s case. For the second time, she finds happiness, but again disaster transpires as Pustovalov is stricken with illness, from which he doesn’t recover. After Pustovalov dies, Olenka then begins an affair with Smirnin, veterinary surgeon. Smirnin has a wife, from whom he is separated, and a son. Again, Olenka s views transform into the views of the person she begins to care about. Eventually Smirnin is relocated, and Olenka is left behind. For many years, she is alone. Olenka is left with no views, no opinions of her own. Years later, Smirnin returns with his wife and son for a place to stay. Olenka offers her place and loves Sasha, Smirnin s son, as her own child. Once again, Olenka has someone to love, and once again she has views and opinions to share. Olenka has no intellectual life of her own, she is a woman without a self. A person shouldn t have to use someone else s views and opinions; he/she should have his/her own identity.
Olenka Semyonovna is the main character. Her character is static, unchanging through to the end. Olenka s appearance, personality, and behavior are not half bad . However, her flaw is foreshadowed in the beginning when she is described as always fond of some one, and could not exist without loving. Olenka does not have any views: …..she had no opinions of any sort. Olenka saw the objects about her and understood what she saw, but could not form any opinion about them, and did not know what to talk about. Olenka s flaw is the fact that she always has to look to someone else to form the views and opinions that she does not have for herself. It just so happens that she takes on the views and opinions of people she loves. Olenka is the key to Chekhov s central idea. Chekhov seems to dissuade the reader from looking his/her own identity. Olenka is the main character that embodies the characteristics of the kind of person Chekhov is trying to discourage the reader of becoming. Another character who plays a role of importance is Sasha, the son of Smirnin. With all of the relationships that she has with Kukin, Pustovalov, and Smirnin, not one had been so deep as the relationship she has with Sasha. Her important link to Sasha is that her maternal instincts aroused.