Find today’s 4630 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/116.html
This story is told in three parts it seems. The first is the alcoholic and most-likely-to-be defrocked Father Anastasy refusing to leave his Reverence Fyodor Orlov’s office for an unknown (even to Anastasy) reason. The second is Deacon Liubimov telling Orlov about his son’s heathen lifestyle and persuading him to dictate a letter on his behalf. The final part is Ansatasy trying to find his own forgiveness by attempting to persuade the deacon to forgive his son. The first part is a set up for Anastasy’s request in the third act and the second act sets up the deacon for his encounter with Ansatasy at the end. The story, while long, is interesting, especially with concepts of blame, personal responsibility, and forgiveness. These last few stories have struck me personally, based on how I was raised. For the most part I liked his Reverence Orlov, but I did not like his dressing down of the deacon when discussing the choice that his adult son has made. “Why, who is to blame if not you? You’re his father, he is your offspring! You ought to have admonished him, have instilled the fear of God into him. A child must be taught! You have brought him into the world, but you haven’t trained him up in the right way. It’s a sin! It’s wrong! It’s a shame!” The environment that one is raised in has an effect on how one turns out as an adult, but it is one factor. Also seems that since he was a child, Pytor, has been obstinate and disrespectful towards religion. “…the boy had seemed to him not normal. As a schoolboy, Petrushka had been ashamed to serve at the altar, had been offended at being addressed without ceremony, had not crossed himself on entering the room, and what was still more noteworthy, was fond of talking a great deal and with heat…” Liubimov shouldn’t take any blame. Postscript that he writes also shows how he still wants to maintain a relationship with his son, even if deemed a sinner. Which, in a way, unintentionally gives Pytor the forgiveness that Anastasy wants.