Find today’s 2930 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/135.html
Chekhov again uses a child’s innocent perspective to convey a sad, heartbreaking tale. In this case the story is framed through seven year old Pashka’s perspective. He does not understand that in the morning he will lose a limb. Although it isn’t clearly stated, it seems the “ulcer” that Pashka has on his elbow is gangrene. “Why, the whole arm is done for. Look, foolish woman. You see, the joint is diseased!” the abusive doctor shouts at Pashka’s mother. Chekhov already foreshadows the boy’s fate when a boy hops out the waiting room like a “sparrow.” After the diagnosis and the unusual kind moment from the doctor, making false promises about seeing a fox and going to a fair, Pashka (and the readers) spend time in an upstairs 19th century Russian infirmary. It is a chamber of horrors for the reader, but for Pashka, the rooms with dying folks is a place of curiosity. When the patient Mihailo dies, it seems that it isn’t the death and moving of the body that scares the boy, but the reactions of other people. I wonder, when Pashka runs outside, did readers want him to run home to his mother or get captured since the amputation is necessary inevitability anyway.