Master of the Modern Short Stories: Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov, (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright as well as a short story writer. In his writing style, he is always unique and distinct with his profound competency in dealing with human behaviour an
d psychology as well as nature…vast panoramic, wonderful Russian landscape. There is no complex plot with pejorative profligacy. His characters are relatable and his plots are very mundane. But his distinguishing artistry lies in his super handling of trivial matters with a tone of dignified philosophy. Chekhov means concise language, impressive tone, laconic expression but the highest authenticity of psychological caricature. Our everyday thought, flow of incidents, general human passions and emotions attain a profound dignity and dimension at the backdrop of pathos and humour.
He can construct the skyscrapers over a simple base like a bet, a rainy day or the kaleidoscope of a lady’s inner turmoil. His short stories are polemical, punchy, and epigrammatic and every story carries a distinct mark from the other.
Chekhov is a mastermind of short stories. Each of his stories is unique in its interplay of different themes. Picking up the most trivial theme he draws out the extraordinary thread of it that is otherwise invisible to us.
Chekhov’s style of writing is unique in his dealings with characters and incidents with intrinsic artistry.
Flesh and Blood Characters:
All his characters are drawn from our surroundings…we can relate ourselves with them. They are all flesh and blood characters with follies and foibles, weakness and mortality.
Motley of Characters:
In Chekhov’s stories, myriads of characters play their role instead of being repetitive.
The Truthfulness of Presentation:
Truthful description with honest vivacity and detached sympathy is the lingering tone of Chekhov. There is no exaggeration, no farfetched fancy.
Treating a Simple Theme with Profound Dignity:
He can attune a simple theme with the highest key of excellence.
His tone is laconic as well as intellectual. Portentous braggadocio never shadows his lines.
The Interplay of Humour, Irony and Pathos :
He has a jovial proclivity for humour and irony. The tinge of humour with the streaks of pathos permeates in his every story.
Distinctness of Stories:
Every story bears a single distinct note, different from the other. He plays with variegated themes and characters. Therefore one can find the treasure trove of life in his columns.
He is a detached observer as he never trespasses in the characters. His characters are all free to behave and act themselves. They are free from any biases or judgement.
Minuet Observer of Nature:
In his pen nature speaks most naturally without any inhibition. The ants’ frolic movement, dark cloud, dusty earth, lime tree, red zigzags of lightning, the spurt of May rain, the speck of blue in the sky, ant-heap, swarm of bees, Spanish flies, peeping sun, sweet scent of meadows and lilies, whisking fishes…all get agility and life.
Unique Opening and Ending:
Every story has a unique opening as well as a dashing solemn ending…the perfect one for a short story.
His stories bear an underlying theme of philosophical sobriety.
Minuet Depiction of Human Psychology:
He proves his excellency in telescoping minute details of Human psychology and the interplay of contradictory emotions within his characters.
Conflict is the essence of his stories. His characters develop through the constant clashing and conflict.
Gripping Plot and Language:
Language is gripping as well the plot is riveting. One cannot withdraw his or her mind while reading.
The “Never-Ending” Ending:
The “Never-Ending” ending is the salient feature of his every story. The readers are left to brood over the last threads, the author serves at the finishing time.
Chekhov is never worn out or backdated. Even in the 21st century, postmodern readers find the most modern note in his writing. He is evergreen in his thought and his theme and characters amplify the flow of underlying human passions through the ages.
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