Sunstroke: Selected Stories of Ivan Bunin

A Study of Ivan Bunin

In his short stories, Ivan Bunin frequently showcases the inability to attain earthly happiness. This reality is often manifested in his characters' attempts to return to the past, when the evanescence of joy was still a mystery to the protagonists' callow consciousness. In his story "Sunstroke," the repeated contrasts between light and dark succeed in paralleling the protagonist's psychological struggle. "Kasimir Stanislavovitch" on the other hand, exemplifies a man's attempt to rediscover happiness by delving into the habits of his youth, as well as his unavoidable destruction by the realization that he lacks the power to manipulate both the unassailable passing of time and happiness' capricious nature. In the narrative "The First Monday in Lent," this theme is again reverberated through the juxtaposition of two very different attempts at happiness that are nevertheless connected by their shared failure. And so, the message that happiness can only be transitory is exemplified by the return to joy-filed pasts, either in thought or literal action.

In the short narrative "Sunstroke," Bunin's impressionist tendencies, those which lead him to qualify some of his...

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