Agafya

Analysis of Anton Chekhov's Short Story "Agafya" 12th Grade

Chekhov’s stories often describe the little intricate moments in Russian life, focusing in on one character’s experience of a normal event and in doing so commenting on the character themselves. Agafya is one of Chekhov’s longer short stories, and is told from the perspective of a man who returns to his old village to spend a night with an old friend, Savka. Savka is beautiful, but lazy – and he often entertains women from the village in exchange for food or clothing. One of these women, Agafya, used to know the narrator, who tries to warn her, before leaving them alone. Agafya stays the whole night and returns in the morning to her husband who sees where she was clearly. The story has elements of strangers, of class in the country, of the illusion of love and a sense of hopelessness. Throughout it all Chekhov uses a gentle tone, sympathetic to all his characters different motives and little symbols in the telling of these few hours.

As in many of Chekhov’s stories, the characters are familiar, yet foreign. Though everyone in this story does know each-other, they have not been in close contact for an unclear amount of time. This level of un-familiarity and un-clear boundaries is evident. Even though the narrator suggests that “I...

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