Symbolism In 'The Oyster' By Anton Chekhov

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The “Oyster” originally written by Anton Chekhov in 1884 essentially emphasizes massive inequalities, brutal discriminations, and severe prejudices through the disparity between the aristocracy and the proletariat in which as well juxtaposes between civilization and survival. The symbolism of oyster exemplifies innocence, virginity, and youth’s attributes which shown through protagonist’s, an anonymous boy, illiterate action toward the aristocratic society. The setting has already created a stereotypical thought for the readers indicating pathetic life in street versus suave life in city. Undoubtedly, there is a variation of social hierarchies therefore various people are nurtured in different conceptualizations particularly on both perspectives …show more content…

The anonymous boy reveals his illiterate, ignorant, and underprivileged attributes as he struggles to realize the definition of oyster. He hollers, “A strange word! I had lived in the world eight years and three months, but had never come across that word.”, to indicate the unfortunate inability to purchase or be educated. ‘Eight years and three months’ describes a long period of time where the boy by now should realize the meaning of oyster already because oyster is a common food that people generally consume it. The boy then curiously asks his father what oysters mean, but his father lethargically answers, “It is an animal . . . that lives in the sea.” The use of ellipsis conveys ambiguous knowledge that the father acquires therefore he merely provides a simple answer. Sea metaphorically indicates broad range or endless path that is amazingly prodigious which makes it elusive to specify objects in the sea. Anton Chekhov decides to use the word sea to suggest that the father’s knowledge is extremely broad and general, meaning that he must have not gained a degree of education. However, this further creates instant desperation of a boy who is eager to jeopardize his mouth to taste an oyster as he expresses, “Help us gentlemen!”, “I am ashamed to ask but – my God! – I can bear no more!”. The massive desperation drives the boy to emotionally beg for help shows how the aristocracies acquire the control over the proletarians. ‘My God!’ is a homonym for literally swear a word and as well admire the gentlemen as god because they are the only ones who could turn the boy’s desperation into

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