Rain appears frequently in the story, contributing to an atmosphere of general gloom and often acting as a harbinger of something terrible to come. Rain clouds appear in the first paragraph, with Olenka regarding them pleasantly, and the same rain clouds are appraised by Kikun as a threat to his theater. Through this interaction over rain, we can trace Olenka's shift of perspective from her own to Kikun's, as she soon grows as sour about the rain as Kikun does.
While Chekov only mentions this mole once, it is an important image for two reasons. First, it is one of the few defining facial features that we know Olenka has, lending her a sense of individuality, if only for a fleeting moment. Second, it's mention is the last time we get a concrete description of Olenka's face. When she grows old and mourns later in the story, we only know that her beauty is fading and her face has grown less attractive, but we never get as good of a glimpse at this fallen Olenka, who has sacrificed years of her life to a series of men, as we do of the young Olenka with her mole and naivete.
Olenka is often shown sitting at a window when she is feeling unsettled. Early in the story, she watches Kikun return from work and taps on the window to gain his attention. Later, after Pustovalov dies and the veterinary surgeon leaves, she stares out of her window, forlorn. That she's sitting in her house, staring out, during these moments suggests that Olenka is trapped and lonely in the domestic space of the home, with the window acting as a barely visible yet entirely material object that separates this lonely woman from the world whenever she doesn't have a man to devote her energy to.
The Darling Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Darling is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
One major theme in Chekhov's story is the nature of love. This theme is illustrated through the character of Olga Semyonovna, who lives for the idea of love and withers away without it. In the story, however, Chekov questions Olga's feelings about...