Sunstroke: Selected Stories of Ivan Bunin Themes

Sunstroke: Selected Stories of Ivan Bunin Themes


According to Bunin, love is always a flash, "fleeting vision" that has no future, but without which life has no meaning. Love this is the most severe shock in human life. It brings a feeling of not only happiness, but of sadness and grief. Almost always, it is colored with tragic and fatal tones, eventually makes people unhappy, lonely. But at the time of this "fatal outbreak" human life acquires a higher meaning, it is painted with all the colors. Never a man so subtly and profoundly feels this world and this life as in the moment of love.

All this is reveled in the “Sunstroke”. The feeling of love, happiness lasts a very short period of time, and after that deep grief follows. Love brought the heroes short enjoyment, and long painful memories.


As we know from the context the main heroine is married, she has a three-year-old daughter, but this does not stop her from committing conjugal infidelity. Marriage does not always coincide with happiness, and does not become a boundary for passion, which can rise anywhere anytime, as we see it happened with the main characters. The author neither judges nor justifies this act of unfaithfulness, he just portrays it as something common. Infidelity is said to be a grave sin, and it earnestly criticized by church and society, but it means nothing when it comes to feelings and emotions. At that moment no prejudices matter, it is only heart that orders over common sense. As had been said the author does not blame the main characters, neither does he justify them, it is up to the reader to decide what is wrong and what is right.

Resort affair

The theme of resort affairs is very popular among Russian writers, and Bunin is one of them. Vocation is the time when both mind and body relax, and very often vacationers get involved in more than just recreation, but in love affairs that effect their lives. It is not what they came for, but it happens as a sudden outbreak, and as in the case of this story, a “sunstroke”. Vocations are not just an opportunity to escape from society and obligations, but it gives a chance to give away to one’s feelings and secret desires. We don’t know exactly how this love affair has influenced the woman, but we know for sure that is has left a deep mark on the man’s life, it made him in a day grow up for ten years.

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