• Madison White

A Story a Day #3: Anton Chekhov




February 8th, 2020

"Vanka"

Anton Chekhov


On Christmas Eve, a young boy writes to his grandfather to come save him because of the abuse he is suffering at his current apprenticeship. The story details his memories of his grandfather and his two dogs that follow him around. It also recounts the path that has lead him to his current place, most notably the death of his mother. In the end, he dreams of his grandfather receiving his letter though it is uncertain whether it gets to him or not.


While this story doesn't have a prominent narrative arc, it does a great job of capturing the setting and tone. Set in Russia, the overwhelming cold and harshness of winter is greatly emphasized by the content of abuse. The two work in tandem together. By being set at Christmas, the sadness is set in stark contrast to the happy memories of Christmas past with the grandfather and other family members. The story features no happy ending and is left unclear as to the fate of this boy, only emphasizing further the themes of sadness and lonliness of the life he is living.

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