The Death of a Government Clerk by Anton Chekhov Analysis
In Anton le wer Chekhov's (Anton le wer Chekhov)’s first stories, it is a popular theory that he predicted communist Russia because of his use of symbolism and diction. This story is eerily shocking to what would be Russia’s new norm under the communist regime years later. That story is titled The death of a government clerk. This short story is about Ivan Dmitritch Tchervyakov- government clerk; one-night Tchervryakov decides to go to the Opera and sneezes, unfortunately, this sneeze ends up on the head of another government official, but one much higher up than Tchervryakov. This predicament worries Tchervryakov and ultimately leads to his death. For now, Tchervryakov tries to display his concern by apologizing many many times to the higher up, but the official brushes it off saying it is no big deal, but this worries Tchervryakov even more thinking that he is not being taken very seriously. “ ‘Oh, that’s enough… I’d forgotten it, and you keep on thinking about it!’ ” said the general, moving his lower lip impatiently.” This passage shows how frustrated the general gets even on the first apology. Tchervryakov goes home and conveys his concerns to his wife she agrees with him. “ ‘Still, you had better go and apologize,” she said, “or he will think you don’t know how to behave in public.’ ” This passage shows how obedient people were with the government, this simple sentence from his wife also brings Tchervryakov more anxiety regarding the situation. This conversation leads Tchervryakov to continuously apologize to the official at work, but once again, he gets brushed off. This brings Tchervryakov more and more concern. Tchervryakov apologizes over and over after these many apologies the higher up just gets fed up with Tchervryakov and yells at him while shaking with anger. Tchervryakov is so upset after this encounter that he goes home and dies. “ ‘Reaching home mechanically, without taking off his uniform, he lay down on the sofa and died’ ” The death is very sudden and a shock to the readers with no explanation, is an open ending offering the readers much to think about and interpret on their own. Chekhov is known for these kinds of endings which make him a great author to study.
Going back to the death of a government clerk, this ending can be seen to carry a lot of symbolism; in one way it can be taken as an emotional death instead of a physical one like Tchervryakov’s emotions died because of so much worry he couldn’t handle it even without relating the story to communist Russia it can be interpreted in many different ways. I didn't see the relation between the two until I did my research and hear the opinions of my classmates when we discussed the story in class. to relate to Chekhov predicting the state of communist Russia this death can be seen as symbolism showing the people of Russia dying after asking the government (the official) for help from the gap between the working class and the rich. People were tired of working their whole lives just to live in poverty while the rich got everything handed to them, the working class needed a change. They needed a change but the government gave them communism Tch's death represents the people of Russia giving up when the government starts controlling their lives to the fullest with communism.