The Malefactor

The Malefactor Analysis

Anton Chekhov's story Malefactor was published for the first time in July 1885 in "St. Petersburg newspaper". It continues the line of Chekhov’s miniatures that evoke readers' “laughter through tears”. The analysis of this work reveals the abyss of the peasant-lordly relations in Russia at that time.

The story-miniature raises the issue of negligence, which always has been in Russia. Who is to blame for the fact that the men pulled out of the railroad screw nuts, causing train accidents and death of people? During the reading of the works there is not the impression that Dennis had such intentions and he is a malicious violator of the law. He appears in the court barefoot - hence, he is poor, and the net is his way of survival. Is it possible to blame him in the fact that he makes himself a living? After all, he hadn’t in his mind to kill innocent people.

The story very clearly shows the problem of who is the true culprit of negligence and a real attacker. Gentlemen, who buy these tackles from the rural peasants, know where the nuts on seines are from. And they are surely much smarter than the men and understand the consequences of such men’s "handcraft". But they are silent. They are silent and continue to buy seines with bolts of the rails.

The story is written in a realistic direction, as it specifically draws a picture of Russian reality at the end of the nineteenth century. The work is unusual in its composition, since it has neither beginning nor end: a piece of the trial of Denis seemed torn from the general course of the investigation. The verdict is unknown: Chekhov wanted the reader to carry it by himself.

Very short in its content but capacious in terms of ideas, Anton Chekhov’s story Malefactor makes the reader reflect on the theme of negligence in Russia and its true culprits.

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