The Darling

The Darling Literary Elements


Social-psychological story (narrative)

Setting and Context

Late 19th century, Ukraine (Yalta)

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person narration, focused on Olenka's perspective.

Tone and Mood

The narrative has a straightforward, spare tone. Even the deaths of Olenka’s first and second husbands are described without emotion on the part of the narrator. However, Olenka's own mood is often histrionic and emotional, which colors the narrative.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Olenka, often referred to as "the darling," is the protagonist. There is no obvious antagonist, but rather Olenka's own struggle to overcome the loneliness that she feels when she does not have a man in her life.

Major Conflict

Most of the conflict in the story can be read in Olenka’s wandering in her life: from one man to another, from one point of view to another, from one thought to another.


There is no real climax to the story, which works more like a snapshot of life. This feature is very characteristic of Chekhov’s stories.






The main heroine is displayed as warm-hearted, kind, and very sincere, but still men see in her only an object of physical desire.


Metonymy and Synecdoche


From time to time we meet personifications in the text: “buildings grew”, “time runs” etc.