Realism In Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard And The New Villa

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Anton Chekhov, a seasoned writer, has written about many images in his stories. Two pieces of work, “The Cherry Orchard” and “The New Villa”, both tackle the same image, clothing. It is clothing that ties both of Chekhov’s works into one analysis on appearances versus realities. Realities and appearances appears in both the characters of Lopakhin, Dunyasha, and Yepikhodov and the peasants in “The New Villa”. All of them have falsified version of reality emphasised through Chekhov’s description of what they wear. The absurdism inherent in the characters is first, chronologically, recognized in Lopakhin. In an objective sense Lopakhin is a financially successful man, however he still a peasant in many regards. Lopakhin himself is aware of this…show more content…
Dunyasha is a woman of low status who works on the Estate, not as a serf, but, as a servant. This is made clear as she is constantly doing menial tasks, like making coffee, throughout the play. However, when Dunyasha begins acting up Lopakhin tells her that, “And you dress like a young lady, and you do your hair like one too. You shouldn’t. One should remember ones place” (284, Chekhov). Lopakhin makes it clear that the people of higher status dress in a way that distinguishes them from peasants. As such, Dunyasha is essentially dressing above her social status. Dunyasha makes it clear in the play she wishes for social mobility. For instance she says, “they took me into service when I was still a little girl, I'm now out of the habit of the simple life, and I’ve got white, white hands, like a young’s lady” (305, Chekhov). She tries to convince Yasha, and in some regard herself, that she is a young lady, now unbefitting of her days as a servant. In this way her clothes help her put on the facade of a higher social…show more content…
However, there are some differences to its portrayal and uses in the short story versus the play. First, due to the different forms of media, a play and written text, “The New Villa” tends to give broader perspective due to a larger cast of characters and perspective in which it is written. The misunderstanding in the short story comes not from an intrinsic dysfunction in identity, like Lopakhin and Dunyasha, but, more akin to Yepikhodov, from misinterpretation. In the short story Elena Ivanovna, the engineers wife, says, “I am saying all this that you may not judge from outward appearances; if a man is expensively dressed and has means it does not prove that he is satisfied with life” (Chekhov, 13). Expensive clothing may give the peasants a sense of a higher way of living, however, Elena disagrees with this. It is said that she dresses in bright colors. These colors are representative of the new life the engineer is bringing to the village with the new addition of the bridge. After the story the peasants reminisced on, “how the engineers wife, so beautiful and so grandly dressed, had come into the village” (Chekhov, 20). Although the peasants originally thought the bright colored clothing was a good sign of character, they grew weary of the engineer and his wife.The New Villa and The Cherry Orchard in this way both have a strong connection to clothing and disconnect from appearance and

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