#190 Gooseberries

Find today’s 4373 word short story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/190.html

Travis review:

I believe “Gooeseberries” is the first time that Chekhov has used characters from a previous story. And this is his 190th story. This story follows yesterday’s Man in a Case, where the teacher, Burkin, told the veterinarian surgeon, Ivan Ivanovitch, about a tyrannical Greek instructor who ruled a small town with inflexible morality. Ivan Ivanovitch wanted to tell a story about his brother, but Burkin cut him off, needing sleep. So in “Gooseberries,” Ivan gets to tell his story, which is a sort of rags-to-riches, work hard enough and you’ll get what you desire tale. Except that Ivan thinks that what his brother has done, spending his entire life working hard towards the goal of owning an estate, is absurd. This is exemplified by the brother eating gooseberries from his orchard, the litereral fruit of his success which are sour and unripe, and yet he declares them as delicious. Gooseberries reminds me of Solomon’s vanity of vanities line, but played through an older brother’s disappointed eyes. I like the disappointed reaction of the two unsatisfied listeners and how the portraits on the walls seemed more lively than Ivan’s dreary story.

Rating: 7

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