The Black Monk

Perspective and Understanding in Chekhov's "Misery" College

Written by master realist Anton Chekhov, "Misery" is the story of an old man’s grief for having lost his son. He keeps looking for somebody with whom to talk about the death of his child. Throughout, the use of the old man's narrative perspective enables the reader to understand misery of Iona, the old man, through an approximate stream of consciousness technique which deals with the real flow of human thoughts.

The beginning of the story unfolds on quite depressing and heavy atmosphere, where there is “full of monstrous lights, of unceasing uproar and hurrying people” in “familiar gray landscapes” which seem to relate to Iona’s grief and misery. The range of vocabulary pertained to the depressing atmosphere, employed by Chekhov in the first paragraph depicts the intensity of sadness in Iona. He is even described as "white as a ghost” to underline the fact that he is lifeless; Iona is here just because death came at the “wrong door.” In addition to this, pathetic fallacy is also notable, since nature reflects the state of mind of Iona, who does not even bother to shake off the snow that falls on him. This makes the reader understand how life has stopped moving for him. He has gone through worse by losing his son and that much...

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