Feeling the “Misery” by Anton Chekhov Essay
Feeling the “Misery” by Anton Chekhov
Many great writers have been overlooked by students, who thought that literature was only homework in school. A lot of students, including myself, did not think that one can feel several emotions from a short story such as this piece by Chekhov. I guess we should always think that these stories would not have been chosen to be part the world’s collection had it not been worth reading even years later.
“Misery” by Chekhov might have been short, but the artist was able to grasp my attention and feelings from the first paragraph. This story, unlike many other known fictional pieces, brought out the life from words into pictures. One can get fully inclined with the feelings of the main character. This is due to fact that the story was able to make you experience its characters first hand. Your involvement in the story can become difficult to ignore.
The story began with the main character named Iona waiting in the streets on his mare while the snow showered on him. He was a cab driver of that time. It was almost dark when a soldier called for his services. He motioned his mare and carriage to the direction of the man, who immediately got into the passenger’s seat. He gave Iona the name of his destination and they drove on.
However, Iona’s driving was not as good as it was because he was getting old. Also, he reasoned that his son recently died in the hospital. This is the conflict of the story. Iona has always been a cab driver. But his life was changed the day he lost his son. Furthermore, things got complicated when the soldier yelled at him for not driving well and Iona only answered about what happened to his son. His passenger did not give him any form of comfort. Instead, when the soldier got off in his stop and paid his fair, he did not have any intention of getting Iona as his driver again.
So Iona waited again in the snow for another passenger. When he was almost covered with snow again, three men called for his services. These men were boisterous and a little too loud, but Iona seemed so patient. Only two could seat in the cab so the three men had to fight over who will stand. In the end, the shortest man was the one who stood during their journey. Like the soldier, they weren’t happy with how he drove so they yelled at him. He tried to explain to them that his son died. Again, his passengers were the least bit interested about his son’s welfare. When they got to their destination, he got paid for the fare. Although he was underpaid, he did give that much thought.
He waited again, under the snow, in case another customer may need his services. Unfortunately, when it got late, his services were no longer asked for. The story turned when he decided to go home. When he arrived, his place was over crowded with sleeping people. He found that he was not sleepy, but did not find anyone to talk to.
The climax of the story was when Iona thought about the things which happened during the period of his son’s suffering and death. He thought about how he shouldn’t be working as hard for a family, had his son lived. Iona emphasized that he was the one waiting for death. But his son was taken instead.
With this, he went to his mare and gave her some oats he was able to purchase with the day’s earnings. When he talked to his mare about the death of his son, the mare did not answer back and looked as if she was listening. So he told her more of his story.
How the plot was built was genius. The story showed how a man so miserable can resort to a lot of instances some will call insane. The story was introduced with a man who waited in the snow for a passenger. The metaphor that he was covered with snow and seemingly lifeless was the perfect description about how he was feeling. Although upon reading, one cannot immediate assume that the man was poor or stupid. Who would have thought that his being miserable can be extended in such a manner.
The plot thickened when he drove for two sets of customers, who were highly dissatisfied about his services. In a way, he was explaining to them that the reason behind his poor driving was because of his son’s death. But they did not listen. They complained about every single detail. The three men threw negative language at him without considering his loss. They were most probably too drunk or too insensitive of the man. Perhaps, they were too proud being aristocrats to even care about his welfare.
Iona was described by the text as a person who once had the initiative to live strong and always looking forward. But when his son died, so did his will. The story mentioned that he did not care if he was underpaid, as long as he was at least paid. All he’d want then is to have enough for some oats for his mare. His life fell into a routine flow. The spirit to live on vanished along with his son’s death.
The theme of the story regards the deep love of a father to his son. Although the latter part of the story showed Iona’s thoughts, his earlier actions contradicted it. To elaborate further, it was written in the text that he had hoped that he could stop working as a driver because his son can take over. It sounds rather callous for a father to simply take his son as an easy replacement for the job. But the story further showed that he took note of how his son suffered prior to his passing. The details were almost depressing; the ellipses added a dramatic effect. I firmly believe that Iona loved his son. He would not have been as affected if he did otherwise.