Essay on loneliness in Chekhov's story Melancholy

  • Essays
  • On literature
  • Chekhov
  • Based on the story Tosca

A.P. Chekhov is one of the most talented writers in the history of Russian literature: masterfully using the word, he made it the main tool for exposing the most subtle facets of the soul of both his heroes and his readers. An excellent example of Chekhov’s mastery and his heartfelt sensitivity is the story “Tosca,” where the author raises the eternally relevant and pressing theme of the “little man” for Russia.

The main character is an elderly St. Petersburg cab driver Iona Potapov, who is experiencing the greatest loss in his life - the death of his son. Jonah and his old mare are forced to work in any, even the most chilly and snowy weather, but not because Jonah really wants to earn money. The only thing the old man needs now is a grain of someone’s sympathy for his grief. The first passenger of the evening is a military man, who, soon after Jonah tries to speak, simply closes his eyes, making it clear that he does not care about the cabbie’s “problems.” Jonah’s next potential listeners are three tipsy young men, who throughout the trip allow themselves to make fun of Jonah, and later “lightly encourage him in the neck” with the phrase “we’ll all die.” But Jonah even likes this kind of attention, because he is ready to endure anything just to take his mind off his boundless longing for his son. Jonah is not the most skilled cab driver, because... even faceless people on the road shout abuse and curses after him. But Jonah seems to be happy with these words: they turn to him, they see him, he exists in this dark, snowy world, and his total loneliness recedes a little.

Having finished his shift, Jonah returns to the inn, where his colleagues, fellow cab drivers, are sleeping on benches in the common rest room. Hoping to find understanding and support among his own, Jonah again suffers defeat: everyone only snores by the stove, and the words about Jonah’s grief dissolve without a trace in the stuffy room. Jonah’s inner voice tells him that he definitely needs to be close to a creature who will not brush him off, but will patiently and attentively listen to him. So Jonah finds himself in the stable, where his horse “chews, listens and breathes on the hands of his master.” Wandering in the ocean of indifference and lack of compassion, the hero finds peace and outlet in a meek, intelligent animal, which submits under the blows of the whip and trots on, just as Jonah must continue to live, despite the pain.

The story “Tosca” is nothing less than heartbreaking. The horror of the endless loneliness of a simple harmless person collides in an unequal battle with the all-encompassing indifference and indifference to the misfortune of his brother. By the way, Jonah calls everyone around him “brother” or “darling,” as if subconsciously hoping for kinship of souls and support. But Jonah never finds either one or the other. His melancholy takes root deep inside, and all that remains for this man is his thankless work of providing oats and hay for the only grateful creature nearby - the horse, who yearns with him.

But Chekhov still leaves hope for Jonah and the reader, casually mentioning that Jonah still has a daughter, Anisya, in the village. Maybe after a while, in the spring, when the snow melts and the sun peeks out from behind the clouds, Jonah and his silent partner, “like a penny gingerbread horse,” will rush away from the city’s composure to where the old man’s daughter is waiting, and the horse is her foal. .

Many critics call the story "Tosca" the pinnacle of Chekhov's genius. The laconic and unbearably sad story about Jonah the cab driver calls for perhaps the most important idea of ​​humanism - compassion and empathy, which should be an integral attribute of every human soul. It was these traits that were inherent in Chekhov himself as a creator, and it is these traits that he continues to cultivate in his readers to this day.

Essay Theme of loneliness in Chekhov's story Tosca

This story is called "Melancholy", not "Loneliness". Probably precisely because the hero is not alone. There are a lot of people around him, he is in the center of the city, and his faithful horse is next to him all the time. But he simply cannot tell anyone about his misfortune, that’s why he is lonely.

The story itself creates a heavy atmosphere. And the weather is cold, gloomy... The figure of a coachman, bent under the weight of misfortune as only a person could be bent. And he is completely immersed in his misfortune, hears and sees almost nothing. This almost leads to an accident. Other “drivers” and pedestrians shout to him where to go, the client is indignant. The riders think he is sleepy and get angry. And he went out to work, most likely, out of habit. Although he also needs money, especially in such a situation. But people in such a stressful situation are now usually not allowed to work. Everything has lost importance for him now; he will cause an accident and not notice.

When three noisy and cheerful people sit down with him, he is not even indignant at their behavior. They argue loudly about who should stand and who should sit and ride. And they swear at the cab driver! And he wants to tell each of his clients about the death of his adult son. About how unfair all this is, because he would gladly give his own life for him. About all the unpleasant procedures - the bureaucracy in the hospital, about the funeral... This is such a moment that he just needs to talk it out. You can’t change anything, but at least see that they listen to you, at least sympathize with you a little. But no one, no one listens to him. Everyone is rushing about their business. Besides, he's a maintenance man. Who cares what’s in his soul? He is like part of his cart, no one wants to take on unnecessary worries, they are only ready to be indignant.

But we are all human. Sympathy and kindness must still mean something. No one even noticed what condition the cab driver was in! Everyone thinks he is either sleepy or drunk. Nobody wants to figure it out!

But I think that the situation itself was not conducive to a normal conversation. And a woman would sympathize more... Yes, the hero is definitely lonely, but the situation is not the best for emotional conversations. But, of course, this is an indicator of general sympathy in society. If one of the riders had a problem, would they listen to them?

Essay on the topic of melancholy

After reading the story of A.P. Chekhov’s “Tosca”, I saw the problem of loneliness, the lack of mutual understanding between people. In this work we feel Chekhov’s love for ordinary workers like Ion Potapov. Chekhov's stories are about nothing and everything at the same time. The author's deep thoughts are hidden behind the trifles of everyday life. So it is in the work “Tosca”. Chekhov tells us about the working day of the poor worker Ion Potapov. Working as a coachman, he meets different people and spends most of his time with them. It may seem to us that this is a person who is not haunted by the problem of loneliness. But looking deep into the lines, the reader can see the deplorable state of Jonah’s soul. Having no wife, having lost his son, Potapov was left alone with his crippled soul, aching with melancholy, and with his horse. Melancholy eats him up. The passengers' disregard for each other and for Ion himself is a handful of salt poured onto his mental wound. Faced with the problem of loneliness in the story of A.P. Chekhov’s “Tosca”, I would like to call on humanity to kindness, mercy, and mutual understanding. Chekhov's works pose serious problems for the reader, receive careful development in their plot structure, and become a genre of great literature. Paving the way for the story, Chekhov started from old techniques, dilapidated themes, and external entertainment. On the other hand, Chekhov's story absorbed the best achievements of previous Russian literature. Chekhov became a master of this “small” form. Chekhov's stories are fraught with great meaning, differing from others in their clarity and conciseness, carrying a certain moral conclusion. An example of such a story can be considered his story “Tosca”. This is a story about well-fed, indifferent people who consider themselves a class above, unable to understand, feel sorry for another person, support him with a friendly, soft and kind smile, alien to responsiveness and compassion. The main character of the story is Jonah Potapov, a poor cab driver who recently buried his son, looking for people’s support and understanding. Of course, his grief is difficult to understand for people who have never had a heartache or a numb soul. With what trusting defenselessness old man Jonah opens his soul to all those who needed a cab that day. With what childish openness he tries to see the spark of support and compassion in the eyes of the riders. But his entire being encounters a wall of callousness, indifference and misunderstanding. Indifference. How often, when we hear this word, we are surprised and indignant, thinking to ourselves that this does not apply to us. And how often we forget about the insults and sorrows that we ourselves brought to our closest and dearest people. After all, often so little is required of us: to listen, to say a kind word, to smile. But sometimes we feel so sorry for this little thing. Well, what did it take for the heroes of the story “Tosca” to show a minimum of affection, compassion and patience in order to ease the grief of Iona Potapov. Their souls would become much brighter and purer if they understood the cab driver’s grief. How much brighter and better our world will become when dryness, callousness, and indifference finally leave us. With the creativity of A.P. We get to know Chekhov long before studying his works in the school curriculum. And we immediately notice that a distinctive feature of his work is brevity. Chekhov himself said: “I know how to write briefly about long things.” The writer talks about one of these “long things” in the story “Tosca.” In it A.P. Chekhov raises the eternal problem of humanity - the problem of communicating with each other, indifference to the grief and misfortune of others, the problem of loneliness. The feeling of melancholy and sadness does not leave throughout the reading of the entire story. Already from the title of the story it is clear that we will talk about sadness and pain. Beginning the narrative, Chekhov shrouds the scene of action from which the story begins in drowsiness; the movement around Jonah Potapov slows down, and he becomes lost in his thoughts. Jonah lost his son, and he is unable to contain the pain of this loss; he needs to speak out, tell someone about his misfortune. But he is faced with people’s callousness, indifference and misunderstanding. Lost in a noisy city, where everyone is in a hurry, driving, walking, running, not paying attention to the lonely cab driver, Jonah does not find a response in the souls and hearts of people. But he finds it in the silent sympathy of the horse. To the great shame of the people, Jonah chose the animal over the man. Unfortunately, people often forget about the world around them, immersed in their problems, they do not notice the life around them. But any of them could find themselves in Jonah’s place and receive the same thing that they once gave to the other – indifference and misunderstanding. I had the opportunity to become acquainted with the works of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. This is a great master and artist of words. He is able to convey a person’s whole life in a small story, adhering to his rules and aphorisms: “I write with talent, that is, briefly,” “I know how to speak briefly about long things.” The last formula most accurately defines the essence of the extraordinary skill achieved by Chekhov. Behind his landscapes, often drawn with the help of one precise and precise detail, behind short dialogues and monologues, small details, behind which the reader always discerns the depths of life not named by the author, but clearly visible. Even now, in his story “Tosca,” a few sentences are enough to understand the atmosphere of soullessness surrounding the main character. Twilight falls on the ground like a soft carpet, wet, coarse snow swirls, which “lays in a layer on the roofs, shoulders, backs, hats.” This is not just twilight and snow, it is an image, a symbol of some kind of hopelessness, emptiness and indifference. You feel how small and insignificant a person is in this soulless space. And Jonah Potapov is alone in this emptiness, where he has no one to exchange a word with. In this short story, Chekhov paints an image of a soulless city with soulless people. A city where there are so many people, but where you are spiritually alone. Four times Potapov tried to start a conversation, four times he tried to talk about his grief - about the death of his son. He wanted someone to sympathize with him, to feel sorry for him. He says that it is better to talk to women about this topic, “even though they are fools, they roar at two words.” However, his interlocutors were not interested in this; they were indifferent, indifferent to the grief of others. Jonah could not speak out, and from here melancholy grew, “enormous melancholy, knowing no bounds. It seemed that if my chest were to burst, melancholy would pour out of it, it would flood the whole world...” This is the main poetic thought that forms the leitmotif of “Tosca.” The driver does not find understanding among people. He begins to feel pain and bitterness from unexpressed suffering and melancholy, cannot sleep at night and goes to see the horse, which for him has become the most dear and dear creature after the death of his son. In her he sees a kindred spirit, just as he lost his son, so she lost her master and oats. He begins to remember and talk about his son, and then “gets carried away and tells her everything.” Because in this emptiness and silence, in this “soulless” city, this is the only creature that listened to him and did not push him away. This topic is also relevant for us; we are always in a hurry somewhere, not paying attention to the suffering of other people, not thinking that we ourselves may find ourselves in a similar situation.

Genre and direction

“Toska” is a short story in genre, as it is a short prose work with narrative content. The narration is told in third person.

The story describes real life, the most plausible situations, feelings, and uses common language. This means that it goes back to such a direction as realism. We can safely say that all of Chekhov’s works relate specifically to realism, like the prose of other writers of the second half of the nineteenth century. What happened to Jonah in the story is a very realistic and even mundane situation, but that does not mean that it is not worthy of attention. Sometimes in simple things there lies a problem, solving which you can get to the truth.

What is the book about? A story about an old cab driver, Jonah, whose son died. His melancholy was unusually enormous, boundless, and the only thing that could ease his suffering was one single living soul, ready to listen to his story about his son in full. But no one was in the mood to listen and delve into it. All the people he met lived with their own concerns, and no one cared about Jonah’s grief.

In the end, unable to find anyone to talk to, he told his story to the horse. These are the main events described in the work. The plot is told in detail here .

The theme of loneliness in the story Tosca by Chekhov essay

The story "Tosca" is the pinnacle achieved by Chekhov's mastery.
Sensitive lyricism and a depressing feeling of sadness are presented in perfection and it is precisely because of this that it is physically painful to read this work. There is a desire to squeeze through the lines, come up and listen to Jonah, because every person feels sorry for him. As if, in comparison with him, I am happy, although before reading it I had my own hardships and sorrows. I admire Chekhov in a way that not any author can awaken such feelings. It seems to me that the secret of his success is that he found how to describe loneliness, the most joyless humane feeling. Everyone has experienced it and everyone understands what it is, and at the same time the author managed to present it in a new way. In the story “Tosca,” the writer tells about the difficult life of an ordinary cab driver, forcing the reader to feel his fate to the depths of his soul. After the recent death of his son, Jonah seeks help and compassion from people, but instead is met with rudeness, indifference and contempt. The cab driver is tormented by endless internal pain, his heart is broken. The author is even amazed that such a large, all-encompassing sadness fit into an insignificant figure covered with snow. Like a defenseless child, he tries to discern warmth and attention in people, but all in vain. Only the old faithful horse is close to the owner during this difficult period of life, and Jonah turns his soul inside out in front of him. After all, he is so alone among people. Melancholy consumed the hero, but did not disgrace his soul, did not turn him into one of those indifferent and soulless riders. He is still warm-hearted and understanding, so he is rejected in a ruthless environment. Iona Potapov is the personification of the image of a small man, superfluous and lonely in a big city.

The hero's spiritual world is completely drowned in loneliness. Jonah reveals himself only from this dramatic side. His soul is rich in a Christian way. He does not grumble at fortune for the death of his son, he is reconciled, although he intended to die in his place. He is open to goodness, is not embittered by an indifferent world, and excuses people for their rudeness. He doesn’t even want to bother them with his own outpourings and falls silent when he sees that the listener has no time for him. Surprisingly, it is spiritual wealth that makes him lonely. Indecent and frivolous people are united by their primitiveness, but Jonah is doomed to bear the weight of his spirituality. This is a provable reason for his loneliness, but Chekhov transfers it to the main plane by all means, revealing the character of his hero.

A.P. Chekhov forces the reader not only to empathize with Jonah’s pain, but also to think about his personal attitude towards people. Sometimes we pass by other people's grief, we are too lazy to share a piece of our heartiness with others. The writer presented to us all the hopelessness and versatility of human melancholy. It’s not for nothing that he was called an expert on human souls.

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