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Analysis of "Grief"

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2011 03:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 63.6 
  • Words: 261
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"Grief" by Anton Chekhov has a straightforward plot. Iona Potapov, the protagonist of “Grief,” is a cab driver in St. Petersburg whose only son has died the week before. Throughout the story he is surrounded by people, but he remains genuinely alone. He “thirsts” for the opportunity to talk about his grief, but no one will share the burden of his misery. Each of his cab fares brushes off his overtures for conversation. Iona’s fellow lodgers offer no comfort either; a young cabman falls asleep when Iona tries to discuss his loss. The people’s reaction was not sympathetic on the contrary it rang home Iona’s loneliness all the more. His deep tragic pathos is reflected in the lines “should his heart break and grief pour out, it would flow over the whole earth it seems, no one sees it”. Unable to sleep, the tormented Iona goes out to the stable. Iona tells his mare the story of his misery.   The story takes a powerful look at the lack of human involvement and compassion towards one man's grief. Iona tries unsuccessfully, three times, to find an outlet to his pain. Only resorting to the faithful ear of his horse, does Iona reaches resignation from the death of his son. After having read "Grief," the harshness of human behaviour, one is forced to take an introspective look at one's own attitude in regarding the sensitivity of others. The story has an implied theme: Deep suffering is incommunicable, but the sufferer must try to find an outlet.

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