#189 The Man in a Case

Please find today’s 5400 word short story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/189.html

Travis review:

The Man in the Case certainly lives up to it’s name both figuratively and literally. Two accomplished men spend the night in a barn after what I imagine was a vigorous day of hunting. Discussion about the how the wife of the man whose land they were on had never stepped foot outside of her village prompts Burkin, the schoolteacher, to tell a tale of a moral tyrant at his school who made everybody’s life miserable. Byelikov intimidated students, teachers and even the townsfolks with his unyielding puritanicalism, sucking the life out of everything. People lived in fear of him, even though he was a cowardly clown who physically encasing himself by “wearing goloshes and a warm wadded coat, and carrying an umbrella even in the very finest weather.” As I hate people who wield cheap power like a battering ram, I was more than happy when the history and geography teacher, Milhail, came to town with his sister. To me Milhail from the Ukraine (aka Little Russia) is the hero of this story because he stands up to the little man. One of the lines that Byelikov uses to express his outrage about seeing Milhail and his sister on bikes reminds of the gay marriage opposition in America when they argue that if gay marriage is allowed, then humans will be marrying animals next. “Surely that needs no explanation… If the teacher rides a bicycle, what can you expect the pupils to do? You will have them walking on their heads next!” Yes, sound logic Byelikov. Although Byelikov’s tyrany comes to an end, the town still seems to be repressive, which is too bad. After burkin finishes the story, the wife of the man whose barn they are staying in is heard in the distance. I’m not sure why Chekhov chose to loop this part around since it seemed she was only necessary to launch the story of the Greek teaching tyrant.

Rating: 8


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