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Anton Chekhov’s Misery: To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief? Essay

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In Anton Chekhov’s, “’Misery: “To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief?”’, he tells the story of Iona Potapov, a sledge-driver in nineteenth century Russia. The character has lost his son; to an untimely death and he is having a difficult time coping with his lost. He is an elderly, nineteenth century cab driver and his wish is to find someone he can share his terrible grief with, by only sharing his sons’ life. Chekhov portrays the main character as lonely, dazed, confused, and as a man who needs someone to confide in; which all humans want and need during such hardships. In the midst of those times in Russia, Iona cannot find anyone willing to listen to him speak of his son; until he confides in the only thing that has been with him the entire time. The author portrays Iona as alienated and desperate for attention that it becomes obvious that he is stating that every person needs someone to help ease their pain when they suffer a loss.
The story is set in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1860, after the Great Reforms period; where they freed the serf farmers from virtual enslavement (Heller 2 ). Iona is a peasant, who migrated himself and his son,Kuzma, to St. Petersburg to find work. He was once among richer peasants; who he could go to for support and share his stress and anguish; but because of the Great reforms he fell down the social ladder, surrounding him with no social help or support. He has lost his wife already through death and his daughter is back in his old country; his son was the only thing he had closed to him. The story doesn’t talk about their relation but the author makes it clear that his son meant a lot to him.
As the story opens, it is obvious that Iona is in some type of anguish state as he sits outside, on the street...


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...are, he starts to chat with her, while she was eating. He confides his anguish and tragedies within his mare. She is the only thing he has that is close to him. It is also the only thing that connects him to his son; his son followed him to St.Petersburg to become a sledge-driver. He was young and ready to become what he saw his father do growing up.
So, as he tells his grief about his son’s death and other tragedies, the mare just simply nods her head and eat out of the palm of Iona’s hand. Its seems as though he has bonded with his horse because he continues to talk to the mare; without it being able to speak back and comment on his tragedies. It goes to show that sometimes people just may need something simple as a sledge-driver wanting a passenger to listen, just to get through the day; or to get through any hardships they are going through at the time.






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