A Joke by Anton Chekhov Analysis
Anton Chekhov’s short story “A Joke” is a story narrated by a boy that plays a joke on a girl, Nadia. The girl and guy would go coasting and every time they did the boy would whisper in her ear, “I love you, Nadia!” without her knowing who it is. Nadia soon longs to hear those words constantly. In the story, Anton Chekhov, states that love should not be a joking matter.
The narrator’s joke of love caused Nadia to be addicted to hearing those four words. Nadia kept coasting down the hill even though she was scared, the narrator tells the reader, “Nadia soon grew to crave this phrase as some people crave morphine or wine. She could no longer live without hearing it!” Nadia soon became addicted to hearing “I love you, Nadia!” Chekhov shows how this addiction really impacted her life. This addiction caused Nadia to face her fear of coasting just to hear four simple words, Nadia craved those words. He even compares her to people who drunk morphine or wine. These alcoholics are addicted to alcohol because it makes them feel better about themselves, it helps them forget all the bad stuff. Chekhov implies that Nadia is like an alcoholic because the four words that the narrator whispered to her made her feel better about herself like alcohol does for alcoholics. Chekhov uses Nadia’s addiction to show how love should not be joked about. These types of jokes can hurt people for example it made Nadia crave the narrator’s words of love.
The narrator’s joke really impacted Nadia’s life and not in a good way. Nadia soon became to have emotional connections to the words of the narrators. One night Nadia was staring at the sky while the narrator watched her as she reached her arms into the sky, when the wind came the narrator whispered “I love you, Nadia!”. The narrator tells the reader her reaction, “Heavens, what an effect my words had on Nadia! She cried out and stretched forth her arms to the wind, blissful, radiant, beautiful.” Nadia’s urge to be loved makes her want to hear the four words of the narrators. Those words impacted her life very much. The author wants the readers to understand that you cannot joke with people when it comes to love. These types of jokes can impact someone’s life for the better or for worse. Nadia craved these words so much that she could not live without hearing them. When the narrator whispered them to her that night she was very happy but after that night she will probably never hear them again. She will go through her life wondering why she does not hear those words in the wind anymore and it is going to make Nadia sad. Jokes of love are never nice even if it does not impact them in a bad way at the time but eventually it is going to negatively affect someone.
The narrator had no reason to play the joke on Nadia, if you do not have a good reason to do it then you should not joke about love. In the end, the narrator admits, “I can no longer understand why I said those words and why I jested with Nadia.” The narrator has no idea why he played the joke but in the story, he describes her as “timid” and “terrified”. The narrator took her characteristic as a good way to tease her, she was an easy target. The author uses this situation to show that the vulnerable ones are always the easiest ones to tease and that is wrong. Nadia was so vulnerable for love that the narrator was easily able to mess with her. The narrator says that he had no reason to play the joke. Chekhov shows how easy it is to joke about love to someone because of how gullible they are. These jokes are unnecessary and they cause unwanted harm. Nadia grew up and still remembers the words that the narrator whispered. The narrator tells us “But she has not forgotten how we coasted together and how the wind whispered to her:/ ‘I love you, Nadia!’/That memory is for her the happiest, the most touching, the most beautiful one of her life.” The narrator may think that this was her happiest memory but it could also be her saddest too. It was her happiest because of the feeling it gave her but the saddest because she will never hear those words again. Chekhov does a good job explaining how you should not joke about love even if it is for a good reason or a bad reason. The narrator had no idea why he played the joke but since he did it changed Nadia’s life significantly.
Love should never be joked about according to Anton Chekhov in his short story “A Joke”.