Analysis Of Anton Chekhov's Anna Round The Neck

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In every rags to riches story, the protagonist eventually must decide whether it is better to continue to associate with impoverished loved ones from the past, or whether he or she should instead abandon former relationships and enjoy all that the life of fame and fortune has to offer. Anton Chekhov gives his readers a snapshot of a young woman in such a scenario in his short story Anna Round the Neck. While this story certainly gives a glimpse of the social climate in Russia during the nineteenth century, its primary focus is the transformation of Anyuta (Anna) Leontyich from a meek, formerly impoverished newlywed into a free-spirited, self-confident noblewoman. Throughout the story, the reader is drawn to pity Anna’s situation, but at the…show more content…
One in your buttonhole, and two round your neck.” The two Annas round the neck refer to the award of the “Order of St. Anna, second class,” which was granted to the addressee of the statement; the Anna in the buttonhole refers to the wife of the recipient of the award, whose named also happened to be Anna (Chekhov 225). Taken only at face value, then, this title seems superficial and a bit crass. However, in the context of the entire story, this phrase is actually a reflection of Anna’s transition from her timid youthfulness to being a confident woman, a transformation she began to feel even at the gala (233). Throughout the story, readers are given the impression that although Anna was loved and valued by her family, she did not receive a lot of intimate attention after her mother’s death (232). She became the homemaker in her mother’s stead, and she was forever overshadowed by the shame cast upon the family by her father’s addiction (226-227). During the first months of marriage, she had few responsibilities, but she continued to fulfill a similarly passive role: although Modest was flattered by her beauty, he did not truly appreciate her and cared far more about his social status than he did about making her happy. Instead of truly investing in her life, he gave her expensive gifts in a careless attempt to please her (232). In…show more content…
It seems as though Pyotr and Alexeich both represent different aspects of Chekhov’s father, and Chekhov himself is Anna. Chekov’s father was aloof from his family and came from a lower class background; like Modest Alexeich, Chekhov’s father also fawned at the feet of his social superiors. Chekhov, in contrast, was an unconventional boy. He eventually broke from his family’s lower class position and became a doctor; however, throughout his school and career he performed additional odd jobs to earn money he could send to his father. Also like Anna, Chekhov loved to be with people (Payne xiii, xvii-xxi). Comparing the two, then, it would seem as if Chekhov identifies with Anna as she struggles to find her social identity and wrestles with her desires and the needs of those she loves. This tone gives the story a melancholy mood and leads to a bittersweet conclusion. The ending seems happy for Anna, yet the reader is left to wonder what the ending represents. Did her father and husband receive the dues for their behavior? Are Anna’s actions a normal product of the transformation from youth to adulthood, or did she come to completely discard respect and

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