The Cherry Orchard

"The Cherry Orchard": Liberation Leads to Different Paths 11th Grade

The Cherry Orchard, a classic of modern theater by Anton Chekhov, portrays the coming of age in a Russian society that is beginning to witness a rising middle class upon freeing the serfs. The characters of Firs (the manservant to Gayef) and Lopakhin (a rising middle class businessman and landowner) react differently to this changing way of life. Lopakhin takes his liberation and elevates himself to a higher level, whereas Firs is unable to figure out what to do with himself after so many years as a serf and, consequently, stays enslaved; however, both men always remain aware of their lower status amid this changing era.

Lopakhin takes the horrid poverty of his parents’ peasantry origins and uses them as a motivation to raise himself up a notch into the developing middle class: “Well, it was soon over. I bid nine thousand more than the mortgage, and got it; and now the cherry orchard is mine! . . . If only my father and grandfather could rise from their graves and see the whole affair, how their Yermolai, their flogged and ignorant Yermolai, who used to run about barefooted in the winter, how this same Yermolai had bought a property that hasn’t its equal for beauty anywhere in the whole world! I have bought the property where...

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