Cherry Orchard Symbolism Essay Research Paper

Cherry Orchard Symbolism Essay, Research Paper "We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are." This quote by Anais Nin expresses an essential point of view for this discussion about the

Cherry Orchard Symbolism Essay, Research Paper

"We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are." This quote

by Anais Nin expresses an essential point of view for this discussion about the

symbolic meaning of inanimate objects, since it is our personality and our

memories, which determine our character and meaning. Our feelings towards

certain objects are individual, as everyone associates different things in a

different manner. Insofar, "we see them as we are", since they can

mirror our past, pains, hopes and our ideals. Thus they become more than just an

object, but a symbol for a certain part of someone’s feelings and life. This is

also the case in "The Cherry Orchard": objects as the nursery room,

the bookcase and the cherry orchard take on their own symbolic life. They all

share one thing in common: each one reveals something of the characters’

personalities, feelings and ideals. These inanimate objects are a reflection of

the characters’ inner states of being. The meaning of these inanimate objects

are changing analogously with the characters’ change of mood, perspective and

state of mind. Thus one gets the impression that the objects are more like

persons, since it is only the characters’ life, which makes and keeps them

alive. The nursery room may be for an outstanding person without any implicit

significance, but for Lopakhin and Liuba it is a symbol for their childhood,

background and past. The nursery room reminds Lopakhin of his origins. It makes

him aware that he is "just a peasent" (p.334); no matter how rich he

has become or how elegant he might be dressed, his social background still

remains visible for other people. After all, one "can’t make a silk purse

out of a sow’s ear"(p.334), as his origins will be for good a part of his

identity. For Liuba the nursery room symbolizes her "innocent

childhood" (p.347). Being in this room, in which "she used to sleep

when she was little" (p.336) seems to bring her back to feel a part of that

secure, carefree life and makes her feel "little again"(p.336). The

bookcase has the same effect on her; all her troubles seem to be far away and

she feels pure "happiness" (p.342). Gayevs’ ‘relationship’ to the

bookcase is less personal, as he doesn’t associate a particular personal memory

with it. He considers it rather as an object, which has its own personality;

hence, though it is "an inanimate object, true, but still ? a bookcase

(p.345)"! The way he sees it is reminiscent of a hero, as it has for

already hundred years "devoted itself to the highest ideals of goodness and

justice" (p.345) and has never deceived anyone. Being constantly and

unshakably true to its ‘principles’, it was a source, from which "several

generations of their family"(p.345) have drawn courage and hope "in a

better future"(p.345). In the course of time a lot of things have changed:

some people are dead, Gayev and Liuba got adolescent, and the estate is probably

going to be sold. However, the bookcase not being subject to any rules or

changes, thus becomes for Gayev a symbol of consistency and security. The

central symbol of "The Cherry Orchard", as the title might suggest, is

the cherry orchard itself. The cherry orchard does not only represent an

inanimate object, but it is the center of the characters’ world. Their lives

could be divided into the era "before the cherry orchard was sold"

(p.301) and into the era after it. With this change the symbolic meaning of the

cherry orchard before and after the sale also changes. The cherry orchard

‘before the sale’ plays a part in each of the characters’ past; but it seems

foremost to be part of Liuba’s mind, through which the cherry orchard takes on

his own symbolic life, as its symbolic meaning changes with the changes in her

mind. She "can’t conceive to live without the cherry orchard" (p.375),

as almost her whole past and memories are connected to it. Looking at it seems

to revive the memories of her "happy childhood" (p.347) and makes time

stand still, as if "nothing has changed"(p.347) in her life. In those

days her attitude towards life was innocent and "bold" (p.375), as she

wasn’t yet "able to foresee or expect anything dreadful"(p.375). She

felt like the cherry orchard, "after the dark, stormy autumn and the cold

winter, [-] young and joyous again" (p.347); but now, she seems to have

lost this "power of vision" (p.375) and her naive view of life. That’s

might be the reason for her to see the cherry orchard in such an illusory light.

It had become a refugee place, where she hides to escape from reality, her

"problems" (p.375) and "sins" (p.359). The cherry orchard

for her embodies a kind of paradise, into which her ‘unhappy past’ does not

enter, but only her ‘happy past’. She doesn’t want to let go the cherry orchard,

because she doesn’t want to let go her ‘happy past’. As long as the cherry

orchard exists, her childhood feelings seem to continue to still exist for real.

To sale the cherry orchard would mean to erase that beloved part of her life and

thus sell her (p.347), too. However, the irony is that she escapes from her

‘unhappy past’ to a place just like the cherry orchard, which magic only lives

through the past itself. In as much as the cherry orchard represents a kind of

‘Garden Eden’ for her, it at the same time also is a "burden" (p.348),

which rests on her shoulders. As long as she continues to stick to the orchard,

she won’t "forget her past" (p.349) and won’t thus be able to create a

new future. "To begin to live in the present, one must first atone for his

past and be finished with it" (p.368). Unlike t Liuba, her daughter, Ania,

already reached that conclusion and is willing to "leave" (p.368) this

burden behind her; her "love" (p.367) for the cherry orchard has

vanished, as it is part of her past life and has therefore nothing to do any

longer with her present and future. ‘The cherry orchard after the sale’ thus

becomes a symbol for renewal and a new beginning for the life of each character

in the play: Lopakhin purchasing the estate got able to get rid of his origins.

"Gay with life and wealth" (p.344), he has freed himself from being

only the grandson and son of serfs, who used to work on this estate. Now he has

become the owner of that place and with the cutting down of the cherry orchard,

he is going to leave his past and origins behind him, creating a "new

living world" (p.384). Also Liuba’s "burden" (p.348) of the past

seems now to have become lighter; "her nerves are better" (p.391) and

she is going to leave for Paris, since she might have recognized that it’s

finished long ago [and] that there is no turning back"(p.375). Gayev has

finally "calmed down" (p.391), too and is going to be an employee of a

bank. Varia is going to leave for a new job, and Ania and Trofimov are gladly

stepping towards their "new life" (p.391). Also the rest of the

characters have to start a new life in a new place. When they leave [-] there

won’t be a soul in this place" (p.397) anymore. Maybe not in this place,

that’s true, but for sure in another place, since there are in the world

"many, many wonderful places" (p.367/368), on which one can

"plant a new orchard" (p.385).