~ Analysis ~
The story ‘About Love’ by Anton Chekov deals with different love experiences. On the one hand violent, expressed and sexual love has been shown which is represented love affair between Nikanor and Pelagaya, on the other hand unexpressed, platonic and spiritual love has been shown through the main character Alyohin and Anna. This story raisess a question regarding whether love should be bound by any matrimonial relationship. In this story it has been shown that love can never be precisely defined as different people have different experiences regarding love. The way the story starts in the special occasion or setting and the way it ends with special occasion or setting enables the readers to understand the story and its main characters.
The main character Alyohin lives in the village Sofyino. He has got graduation from university but he has been confined into the world of farming that doesn’t suit his education. Alyohin’s father had spent lots of money on his education thus he decides that he will not leave farming unless he pays off the debt. Alyohin is at his home with his friends Ivan and Burkin at present and the weather outside was very bad. As a result, they couldn’t go outside and the thing they could do was only telling the stories and listening to the stories. They entered the topic love. At first, Alyohin talks about the love affair between Nikanor and Pelagaya, his cook and maid servant. Both of them have already expressed their love to each other. Nikanor wants to marry Pelagaya as he is a religious person but Pelagaya doesn’t want to marry him rather she wants to live just ‘so’. Nikanor sometimes gets heavily drunk and he scolds and beats Pelagaya.
Alyohin starts sharing his own painful experience regarding love with Ivan and Burkin. Once Alyohin was elected honorary justice for peace and he got an opportunity to go to the city and to attend the meeting. He made some friends over there and among them Luganovich was a special one. Alyohin was invited to Luganovich’s house where he could see Anna, Luganovich’s wife. Her simplicity, politeness, way of talking, way of walking, hairstyle and her dress-up were enough to make Alyohin impressed. Later on, Alyohin got back to his own village but time and again he used to remember and extra ordinary personality of Anna. Each time when Alyohin goes to the city he never forgets to visit Anna and Luganovich. He became good friend of Luganovich family. Alyohin did have unexpressed love towards Anna and Anna also wished Alyohin could visit her frequently. Alyohin and Anna sometime spent time together but never collected any courage to express their love.
Alyohin couldn’t bring Anna to his life because he himself was going through bad economical condition. He thought himself that he wasn’t any hero, famous person nor he was an artist. He knew it very well that bringing Anna to his life means putting her in an additonal problem. Likewise, Anna couldn’t leave her family. Both of them were suffering from unexpressed love. Both of them couldn’t express their hidden feelings because of society, family and different norms and values. Anna started behaving differently and she became moody one. She often got irritated and she didn’t like to stay at her home with her family. She often went to her sister’s and mother’s house. She went through mental depression and she even behaved differently with Alyohin. Luganovich was appointed to Western Province and Anna was going to Crimea for her mental treatment. Alyohin came to know that Anna was going away from his life forever. Almost everyone went to the train station to see her off. Anna happened to forget her basket therefore Alyohin got a chance to bring the basket to her. They were standing face to face. Both of them realized that they had just a minute of their meeting and they were going to be separated from each other forever. The sense of spiritualism left both of them. They hugged each other and they wept for long. Both of them understood that how meaningless the things were that stopped them expressing their love to each other. They further understood that logic in love should be above any social norms and values, family and restriction. Finally, unpleasant time came to both of them. Anna went to Crimea and Alyohin got back to his village Sofyino.