Anton Chekhov's The Darling examines the life style of protagonist, Olenka, with particular interest placed on her various relationships. Chekhov utilizes the character of Olenka to comment on the female condition. He satirizes the role of females within society, alluding to several detriments attributed to the female population. These hindrances include the frivolity of female emotions, impairment to the male populace, and a substantial reliance on men.
Within The Darling, Chekhov attributes overemotional behaviour to the character of Olenka as a statement to the frivolity of female sentiments. Following the death of her first husband, Olenka is described as being melancholy and in deep mourning (Chekhov 226). Olenka's grieving is a natural emotion; however, shortly after being described in such a state, Olenka presents contrasting feelings.
She quickly becomes infatuated with timber manager, Pustovalov, after partaking in a short conversation with the latter: He did not stay long, only about ten minutes, and he did not say much, but when he left, Olenka loved him-loved him so much that she lay awake all night in a perfect fever (226). Olenka's quickly changing emotions and ability to love an individual after such a diminutive discussion acts to promote the concept of the overemotional state of females. Subsequently, Olenka's displays an aptitude to quickly recover from a period of bereavement by establishing romantic relationships so soon after the death of her spouse. The protagonist's wavering emotions demonstrate Chekhov's criticism of the irrationality of emotional behaviour exhibited by females.
[...] By attributing the aforementioned characteristics to the protagonist, Chekhov utilizes Olenka as a testament to the deficiencies of females within society. Works Cited Chekhov, Anton. Darling.” The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. Ed. Ann Charters. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's 223-232. Print. [...]
[...] When married to her first husband, Olenka adopts all of Kukin's attitudes towards the theatre industry, yet while in a relationship with a timber manager, Olenka states, is the use of these theatres?'” (Chekhov 227). The protagonist quickly abandons her previous sentiments involving the arts to coincide with the opinions of her current spouse. Olenka is described as being void of all independent thought. She extracts her opinions from that of her male counterpart: husband's ideas were hers. If he thought the room was too hot, or that business was slack, she thought the same” (227). [...]
[...] Through the protagonist's lack of autonomy, Darling” portrays females as an inept entity. Within Chekhov's Darling”, the writer criticizes the female population through the protagonist's numerous flaws. Olenka's continually wavering emotions testify to the thought of women as melodramatic beings. Moreover, Olenka attaches herself to various males throughout the course of the story, and is portrayed as destroying the vitality of each male counterpart. Consequently, Olenka's behavior acts as a comment towards Chekhov's conceptualization of females as a detriment to male power. [...]
[...] The protagonist makes a practice of mimicking Volodichka's knowledge and opinions, and in doing so, embarrasses the vet in the company of his peers: “I've asked you before not to talk about what you don't understand. When we veterinary surgeons are talking among ourselves, please don't put your word (228). Volodichka's response indicates that Olenka has behaved in such a manner on numerous occasions. These circumstances serve to de-masculinize Volodichka as Olenka humiliates him within a professional atmosphere. The protagonist's ability to deprive males of their power is also made evident in Sasha's concluding statement. [...]
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