Psychological Impoverishment in "Anyuta"

In Anton Chekhov's short story "Anyuta," the title character is defined by her internal impoverishment. Perhaps drawing on his professional background as a doctor, Chekhov primarily explores Anyuta's psychological impoverishment through her physical behavior and body, and secondarily through her relationship to Stepan Klochkov.

The story opens with an image of Anyuta and Stepan Klochkov in a dirty apartment. The image introduces several pertinent clues about how to interpret Anyuta's character, before the reader even sees her interact with Stepan. First, the narrator has given Stepan a last name but declined to specify Anyuta's. One possible interpretation of this difference is that Stepan's identity in the world is more particular and concrete than Anyuta. A last name is usually a family name. The reader gets the sense that Stepan has a family, comes from somewhere, is grounded by a historical past. Stepan not only has Another...
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