A Study of Similarities in the Purposes of Esteban Garcia and Yermolay Lopakhin

These two characters exist in separate world literature books, one of which is in the novel The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende and the other in the play The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov - A Study of Similarities in the Purposes of Esteban Garcia and Yermolay Lopakhin introduction. They are characters who in my opinion have been given roles in both stories, which could be linked together on several similarities that they share. While they have no predominant roles in the course of either book, they have purposes which are unlike those of other leading characters with whom the readers empathize on a higher level. One could find that Garcia and Lopakhin are quite comparable then because of how they have been modeled by the authors to do things to similar causes and effects.

When we look at where these characters started, it seems they had a childhood of poverty and neglect as peasants under what resembled a feudal system. Both of them started out in the low class, presumably already working for landowners at an early age. It seems there is a clear similarity in their initial circumstances, and how they, as adults, attempt to defy the slim chances that these circumstances gave them.

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The past that Lopakhin tries to put behind him, or one might argue is not necessarily proud of, is one of a deprived peasant life on the family of Ranyevskaya’s estate. He is the grandson of people that were owned by her family before freedom was granted to the serfs. The reader may also suggest that he actually uses accounts of his past to promote himself because he often appears to be emphasizing his success despite everything when he speaks. For instance early on in the play he mentions how his father, usually drunk, used to beat him a lot of the time:

“I remember, when I was a boy of fifteen or so, my father – he kept a shop then in the village here – dead now, of course – he punched me in the face, and the blood started to pour out of my nose… For some reason we’d come into the yard here together, and he was drunk.” (Lopakhin in Act One)

This history, so to speak, is responsible for some of the resentment he feels for the Gayev family. At the same time he expresses some affection for Ranyevskaya herself, a main character who is at the start of the play also a landowner, because of her kindness to him. In this way Lopakhin may have mixed feelings about her, while still holding something against her family for his childhood.

Esteban Garcia also, on the other hand, suffered under a greater element of oppression. He grew up in Tr�s Marias, then under the rule of Esteban Trueba the ‘patron’, one of the narrators of the book, who is also his unlawful biological father. The fact that he wasn’t at many times even acknowledged by his father puts the frustration on a personal level. Like Lopakhin he eagerly works towards leaving that past behind, however he ends up dwelling on his experiences to fuel hatred or hunger for revenge on his former oppressor. While he has this hatred for Trueba he is one to strive to gain his acceptance as a child and so this also hints at love-hate feelings towards him as well.

Based on what we find out about both characters’ past, we can be sure that their hard-working natures reflect their hunger for some kind of retribution. We perceive Lopakhin to be a very hardworking, business-minded man with concrete goals and intentions. Also, the reader not only senses that he is very aware of his past because he always refers back to it, but can also be certain that it has made a heavy impact on him. Towards the end of the play it is clear that he achieves a personal goal of redeeming himself and his misfortunate ancestors, so to speak, through the action of buying the cherry orchard:

“The most beautiful thing in the entire world! I have bought the estate where my father and grandfather were slaves, where they weren’t allowed even into the kitchens.” (Lopakhin in Act Three)

Garcia’s behavior can be similarly explained. He can be described as being determined to have revenge and keen to have a change of the political scene and finally be acknowledged. There is evidence of these things in his behavior and actions aimed towards the Trueba family Alba (who is a main protagonist and narrator of sections of the novel) in particular – at some points of the book he seems to haunt her life:

“Alba did not see Esteban Garcia again until he was standing next to her in the university parking lot, but she could never forget him. She told no one of that repulsive kiss or of the dreams that she had afterward, in which Garcia appeared as a green beast that tried to strangle her with his paws and asphyxiate her by shoving a slimy tentacle down her throat.” (Chapter 11, The Awakening)

When Garcia sees Alba, he sees her living the privileged life he would have had if only he were a legitimate child of Esteban Trueba and not cast out and literally forgotten by him altogether. This makes him feel as though it is only right that she experiences some of the trauma and devastation that he has seen and felt in his life, and that he gets a taste of the glory – possibly in simply being able to inflict it on her. Similar to Lopakhin, Garcia’s intended purpose of his actions is to make up for what he has experienced and never had by seizing all that was important to those responsible for it.

Lopakhin and Garcia both see the collapse of aristocratic rule and capitalism in their countries, where themselves and others can finally be recognized. In both books, they are at similar times when new leaders are coming from a different class of citizens. Garcia even goes so far as becoming a leader of the military coup that overthrows the old government, showing how the author, Isabel Allende, portrays him as a new leader. I believe both characters have a purpose of doing this by epitomizing the scenario of even a peasant child being a potential leader in the turn of a new age.

In the two books, The House of the Spirits and The Cherry Orchard, there is at least an underlying theme of political change. In one we have the rise of the working class in Latin America, and in the other there is the eradication of serfdom in Russia. In the course of the stories, Garcia and Lopakhin signify these themes in similar ways. Coming from a past of poverty and ineptness both characters rise to take control or have authority over their former oppressors in a complete change of roles in their society.

In the span of the stories, both characters have significance in marking the bitter end of a dying capitalist rule. They do, however, actively seize the opportunity of change (which in connected to the themes). Garcia seems to want the change because he thinks he deserves it, and Lopakhin because he wants to establish himself. In any case they are particularly determined to do what is in their power to have things change their way. What they do, in both books, signify the central theme of a political change that means, for their people, an ironical change of fate for the social classes.

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