The Darling

The Darling Metaphors and Similes

"Storming the entrenchments of his chief foe, the indifferent public" (Metaphor)

Chekhov uses the phrase "storming the entrenchments of his chief foe" to draw a comical war metaphor that explains how Kikun views the public. It lends hyperbolic coloring to Kikun's disdain of the public's taste and his struggle to keep them engaged with his theatre. And much like a man at war, Kikun will ultimately die on an expedition to wrangle people for his cause.

"She compared herself with the hens, who are awake all night and uneasy when the cock is not in the hen-house." (Simile)

Here, Chekhov employs the metaphor of the hens to illustrate how unsettled Olenka remains while Kikun is away. Yet, again in a humorous manner, Chekhov is drawing an uncharitable comparison between Olenka and a chicken, perhaps suggesting that it's a bit absurd that she goes as crazy as a farm animal when a man is not around.

"There was the same emptiness in her brain and in her heart as there was in her yard outside." (Metaphor)

This metaphor does some complex work, both drawing a comparison between Olenka's own emptiness and that of her yard, as well as bringing back this image of the yard to imbue it with even more meaning. The yard appears multiple times throughout the story, and its fullness or emptiness always seems to be an indicator of Olenka's own psychological state.