27 pages 54 minutes read

Anton Chekhov


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1898

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Character Analysis

Ivan Ivanich

Ivan Ivanich is both a character in the framing story and the narrator of the story within the story. As a character, he represents a modern Russian man who rejects the conventional, rigid social structure. His training and practice as a veterinary surgeon hint at the Enlightenment ideas on reason, empiricism, and science. In the beginning of the story, on his way to take shelter in Aliokhin’s cottage, Ivan plunges into the pool and speaks with peasants. His behavior highlights his disregard for social norms and his respect for all members of society regardless of their sociopolitical status. In the same vein, he perceives countryside as the idyllic, and unspoiled world that all members of Russian society can share and enjoy. While swimming in the pool, he exclaims that the water is “delicious,” (Paragraph 19), a commentary more on the symbolic meaning of nature and countryside than on the taste of the water.

Notedly, his values and morality impact his recounting of the story of his younger brother, Nicholai. From Ivan’s point of view, Nicholai’s definition of happiness is distorted because he perceives countryside as a place where he can enjoy the traditional privilege as a “noble” man.