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A Joke That Is Not So Funny

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A Joke That Is Not So Funny

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add

to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests

keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the

land grows poorer and uglier every day" (Russell). From this quote from Anton

Chekhov, one can tell he viewed life in a very different way. Chekhov enjoyed writing

stories about reality. He often wrote about tragic, true stories that happened in his own

life. Chekhov liked to write stories that were very sad and depressing but he just wanted

to write about how he viewed life. The story, "A Joke," can be a true story in many lives,

possibly even Anton Chekhov's life (kirjasto).

The story "A Joke" is about a girl named Nadyzhda Petrovna and a guy whose

name is not mentioned. The story begins when the two go sledding down a big hill.

Nadya is very scared to go down but after the first time she wants to go again and

again. They continue to go down the big hill more and more, day after day. Every time

they would go down the hill, the guy would always say, "I love you, Nadya!" Towards

the end of the story, Nadya was at the top of the hill looking for the guy she always went

down with but she could not find him. She went down the hill by herself and was very

shaken up and faint at the bottom. In the end, Nadya got married to another man and had

three children. The guy who once said the precious words "I love you" to her, looked

back on the times he had with Nadya and wondered what his motives were in that "joke"


Anton Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia. He worked

long and hard at his dad's grocery store when he was growing up. For awhile, Chekhov

went to a Greek school but when his dad went bankrupt they had to move to Moscow.

He went to a school to study grammar when he moved there. He went to college at the

University of Moscow to be a doctor. As Chekhov went to college, he started to write

stories and comics for newspapers to make some money. He began to be popular not

only with his stories and comics but with his novels. When Chekhov finished college he

was a doctor for eight years. Even while he was working in the medical field, he wrote

stories in the St. Petersburg daily Novoe vremya. As he wrote so much in this newspaper

he found his style of writing to be detached and liberal (Steinberg 767).

As Chekhov grew more and more popular he made many accomplishments. The

Pushkin Prize and getting nominated one of the Society of Lovers of Russian

Literature were a couple of his achievements. Chekhov moved to Melikhove when he

made writing his full time job. Neighbors, Ward Number Six, The Black Monk, The

Murder, and Ariadne were some of his best stories. His first play was called "The

Seagull," and it was very successful. Since that play went so well, he wrote a few more

including "Uncle Vanya," "The Three Sisters," and "The Cherry Orchard" (Murphy 192).


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