Please find today’s 15,773 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/149.html
We’ve been hit with back to back long story. Although a half the size of “The Steppe,” this story still took time to read. The point of “Lights,” at least from the engineer Ananyev, concerns a philosophical argument about the importance of living an engaged life and that youth should not be wasting possible human experiences through nihilistic thoughts about the pointlessness of everything as everybody dies and everything turns to dust. I’m not going to elaborate too much on this story, because it seems like Chekhov in an obtuse way gave a pointless story as Ananyev never finished his long story about meeting up with Kisotchka. Also the setup of the story, told from the point of view of a stranger listening to another person’s story and arguments, reminds me of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which also has a theme of pointless human enterprise, vanity of vanities. The story starts out with a dog, Azorka, barking at essentially at nothing and ends with empty cauldrons showing up that nobody wants. It as if both bookend actions were written to show futility in the world, which is what felt reading this unsatisfying story.