10 best short stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Chekhov is truly a master of short stories. The main feature of most of them is bright accents on everyday life and the intricacies of relationships between ordinary Russian inhabitants. Thanks to the incredible acuteness of the syllable, precisely and brightly chosen words and speech patterns, the writer managed to convey the subtle inner experiences of the main characters and immerse them in the right atmosphere. During his entire creative period, Chekhov wrote many stories, most of them humorous, but at the same time filled with sad scraps of a panorama of life in then-Russia. Below is a selection of the shortest and most unusual of them.

The genius of capacious and short plots: top 10 smallest stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Nomination a place Composition rating
Review of Chekhov's Smallest Stories 1 75000 5.0
2 The ram and the young lady 4.9
3 Iniquity 4.8
4 Marriage of convenience 4.7
5 Grisha 4.7
6 Thick and thin 4.6
7 Death of an official 4.5
8 Oversalted 4.5
9 Holy simplicity 4.5
10 Nerves 4.4

75000

Rating: 5.0

75000

An old story about betrayal and infidelity. But Chekhov managed to dress it in such a brightly tragic wrapper that after reading it, the pain of those who involuntarily became a victim of the protagonist's behavior is acutely felt. The two friends return home, and talk about how one of them lost money given by his wife to pay for her younger sister's studies.

The main character, Vasily Ivanovich, is a self-assured handsome man, a mot and an adulterer who does not regret his deed at all and only worries that his faithful will “preach a sermon all night long” when he returns home. Arriving home, he learns that his wife won 75,000 rubles in the lottery on a ticket presented by her former lover (Vasily's comrade): she is glad that now her husband will cease to be such a disorderly, revelry, because, in her opinion, only poverty pushed him to this.

But Vasily does not hear her, he has his own thoughts in his head. He runs headlong to his former mistress, who rejected him due to lack of money, and gives her the ticket as an old gift, which turned out to be valuable. Meanwhile, the other sits and looks into the empty box from under the ticket with tear-stained, almost distraught eyes and realizes who stole the money.

The ram and the young lady

Rating: 4.9

The ram and the young lady

What can a well-fed life filled with 'deadly boredom' lead to? To the fact that the one who leads it will easily ruin the life of another. The 'dear sir', waking up from an afternoon nap and not knowing what to do with himself, accepts a young lady from a lower class, who is dressed simply, '… even very simple.' And out of curiosity agrees to listen to her.

The modest girl confusedly and awkwardly explains that she came with a request to give her a ticket “for free travel to her homeland.” The young lady says that she is not rich, and she urgently needs to go to distant Kursk, where her parents live, since she has not been home for a long time and received a letter stating that her mother is sick.

My dear sir, looking at a pretty girl, tactlessly takes an interest in her personal life and family. The girl, embarrassed by such questions, is forced to answer, in the hope of getting what she wants. The master gives her tea, talks until the evening, and then sends her home, saying that it is time for him to go to the theater. When the girl asks if she dares to hope for a free ticket, he informs her that she has confused the entrance, and that 'some railroad worker' lives next to him. Having finally got to her destination, the young lady learns that half an hour ago he left for the capital. The author vividly shows the problem of the 'little man' and his dependence on people of the 'strong' who can ruin other people's lives simply out of boredom.

Iniquity

Rating: 4.8

Iniquity

The story of how one bad deed can lead to a real emotional storm and, at the same time, become the cause of an incredibly funny story. Its main culprit is the collegiate assessor Miguev, who cheated on his wife with a maid. Once, making an evening walk near his dacha, he recalled an unpleasant moment a week ago, when the reason for his 'momentary hobby' threatened him with telling everything to his wife and the child would throw them in common.

And now Miguev discovers a bundle with a baby on his porch. Feeling horror for his position, the opinion of others and his own wife, he grabs the child and decides to throw the merchant Melkin to another porch. As he walks to the house of a neighbor, he is overcome by a whole storm of thoughts that suddenly grow from low to noble: the assessor worries about how his son will grow and who he will turn into.

The result of mental anguish is a firm decision to keep the child. And so Miguev, overcoming fear, returned home, “went to his wife and knelt in front of her.” Having stunned her with unexpected news, the main character runs out of the house, deciding to give her time to 'come to her senses'. And at this time a janitor walks by and reports that the local washerwoman left her baby on the porch of the assessor and he disappeared. Miguev has no choice but to tell his tear-stained and angry wife that he was joking.

Marriage of convenience

Rating: 4.7

Marriage of convenience

The story can be safely called a subtle mockery of human greed, aggravated by the narrow-mindedness of others and the harsh realities of the then relationship between a man and a woman. In the first part, we find ourselves at a wedding dinner at the house of the widow Mymrina. A conversation about electricity, accidentally started by a telephone operator, imperceptibly flows into the topic of dowry and marriage of convenience. The groom, seeing in the words of the telephone operator a hint of his financial interest in marriage, is offended and drives the embarrassed guest away.

The second scene is the next morning. There is some commotion in the alley where the widow lives. Fluff flies everywhere, and a strange procession appears in the eyes of those around them: 2 policemen, the groom, followed by the widow Mymrina and the bride, or, more precisely, already his wife Dasha, the janitor and a crowd of children. It turns out that all the noise was due to the fact that the 'honest man' was cheated and instead of a thousand rubles a dowry was given nine hundred. And the groom, angry, ripped the mother-in-law's feather bed, releasing the fluff out the window.

But the bride who follows is not crying out of resentment. Her mother replies to passers-by that she is sorry for the feathers! Three pounds! '. Both sides, it turns out, are facing each other. After reading, there is a sad and unpleasant aftertaste from the realization of the filthiness of human nature. The author did a great job of conveying the idea of ​​a 'deal with conscience'.

Grisha

Rating: 4.7

Grisha

In this small fascinating story, the author has managed to skillfully show the psychology of a child through a combination of a child's view of things, people and the world around him with the opinion of an adult, represented by the reader. The main problem that Chekhov touches on in the story is a careful attitude to childhood: a topic that is relevant both in the 19th century and today. Young children are often treated as unreasonable creatures, they are completely not seen as a person.

The author tells about one day in the life of the boy Grisha, who for the first time went on a walk to the 'big' world with his nanny. The child is still very young ('born two years and eight months ago') and is surprised to learn that people do not run after cats, do not take oranges from other nannies, are not afraid of a loud line of soldiers, but hug and drink on a visit , and a terrible muck (which he learns thanks to the fact that the nanny gives him a taste from his glass).

The reader can form his own opinion. For example, that the nanny is indifferent to the child and fulfills her duties in bad faith, the father does not take part in the life of his son: 'why the dad exists is unknown.' Mom, on the other hand, does not understand the child's behavior and state after the first day away from home: when he starts to feel fever from the abundance of impressions and attempts to digest them in his head during sleep, she gives her son castor oil.

Thick and thin

Rating: 4.6

Thick and thin

In a short story, the author managed to tell great 'about long things'. Here the dependence of a person on the position and the stereotypical thinking associated with this is perfectly shown (although the personality as such also plays a role). The story is about two old childhood friends who accidentally meet at the train station many years later. With the help of original verbal strokes, Chekhov masterfully conveys the essence of what is happening, using metaphors, constant comparisons, etc.

'Thin' (Porfiry) and 'Tolsty' (Mikhail) turn out to be representatives of completely different social strata. Porfiry is a collegiate assessor, and Mikhail rose to the privy councilor, the highest public office. Learning about the rank of his old friend, Thin literally changes before our eyes: 'he shrank, hunched over, narrowed down.' Tolstoy still turns to his friend, and he began to cringe, which caused Tolstoy's irritation and a nauseating feeling.

Chekhov, with his inherent subtle humor, makes fun of people unpleasant to him who grovel in front of a high position. The little official, ridiculed in the story, is servile to an old friend when no one and nothing forces him to do so. Here the world of a 'thin' man with a slave psychology is sharply shown.

Death of an official

Rating: 4.5

Death of an official

The story is considered one of the earliest in the writer's work. The author manages (however, as always) to convey the main idea through a simple and short story. In the center of this plot is a petty official Chervyakov, who, being at a theatrical performance, accidentally sneezes on the head of the general sitting in front. On the basis of the embarrassment that happened, a petty official has the idea that it is imperative to apologize. This he does, leaning forward towards the general.

After that, something unimaginable begins to happen to the main character. A feeling of anxiety does not leave him, a whole swarm of thoughts appears in his head, he is in constant confusion. But there is absolutely no reason for this: a high-ranking representative was not offended at all and calmly accepted the apology. But the official does not find rest. He begins to pursue the general, coming to his service. As a result, he drives him to a rage and with a shout he drives away Chervyakov, who comes home, lies down on the sofa and dies.

In the story, the main subject of ridicule is the official, whom he makes both comical and pathetic. He is ridiculous because he looks ridiculous in his misplaced persistence. And at the same time, pathetic because of the constant attempts to humiliate himself with annoying apologies. Even his death Chekhov makes an object of ridicule, since he is sickened by unnecessary, ridiculous, voluntary self-abasement.

Oversalted

Rating: 4.5

Oversalted

In a simple, at first glance, plot, one clear line can be traced: the land surveyor Smirnov needs to get to the estate and for this he hires a local peasant Klim at the station where he arrived. It starts to get dark and the prospect of 30 versts to ride in the company of a 'hefty man', who turns into a dark forest, and his horse is already running at a gallop, gradually terrifies the official. He begins to tell the driver about how powerful he is ('I have strength like a bull'), that he has three pistols, etc. This is where the fun begins.

Seeing in front of him an unfamiliar city official who intimidates him with his remarkable strength and weapon, Klim does not find anything better than to abandon both the cart and the horse, rushing into the thicket with a cry: 'Help! … do not ruin my soul!'. For 2 hours Smirny has to call Klim back. And now, having already resigned himself to the fact that he will have to spend the night in the cold in the forest in the company of a skinny filly, the official finally calls the peasant, saying that he was just joking. Then they go calmly and neither the road nor the fellow traveler seems dangerous to the surveyor.

Holy simplicity

Rating: 4.5

Holy simplicity

Chekhov managed to create a masterfully constructed dialogue between two people who absolutely do not understand each other in the person of Alexander's son, a successful Moscow lawyer and Savva's father, the rector of a church in a small town. The author managed to clearly show the social abyss that separates the prosperous intelligentsia of Moscow and the vegetating, limited provincialism.

An acute moral problem is also raised here: a son who lives in the diverse interests of the capital, an incredibly successful lawyer, is absolutely indifferent to his elderly father. Once, having arrived in his native province on business, he does not consider it necessary to visit his father, whom he has not seen for '12-15 years'. Instead, he visits the local theater, where he buys all the tickets out of boredom, spending a huge sum of 300 rubles: just so that the performance will take place for him.

Alexander is from a world completely alien to his father. He stands above many people, both materially and morally. When the father, not believing in the fantastic earnings voiced by his son, in his opinion, asks why his son receives such huge money, he receives a surprising answer: 'for talent'. Chekhov strove to show the reader in this story (without a hint of moralizing) the abnormality of the son's 'forgivable', from the point of view of many, absolutely indifferent attitude of his son to the fate of his father.

Nerves

Rating: 4.4

Nerves

Let it be small, but, nevertheless, a masterpiece of a Russian writer. Chekhov managed to create a mystical, mysterious and at the same time incredibly comic plot. Its main character, the architect Vaksin, returns home in the evening after a dinner party, where a seance was held, or, more precisely, there were only talks about spiritualism, those buried alive, etc. Vaksin himself even attempted to evoke the spirit of his deceased uncle.

Impressed by this event, the main character, going to sleep, cannot calm down in any way: he always sees something in the darkness, sounds, etc. Vaksin is a self-sufficient, successful, married man. The whole situation looks even more comical: his fears look very ridiculous, but so funny that the main character seems charming. There is nothing reprehensible in his behavior, and the way he tries to come up with a reason to call the governess and not stay alone in the room looks incredibly funny.

As a result, it comes to the point that Vaksin almost breaks into the governess and, when she falls asleep, quietly enters the room and lies down in the corner on the chest. There, rolled into a ball, his wife, who was leaving for Trinity, finds him early in the morning.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Rate article
An online magazine about style, fashion, etiquette, lifestyle, and about choosing the best products and services.
Add a comment