Short Story Challenge – The Student by Anton Chekhov from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night

Published March 20, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s The Student all about?:

Stories to Get You Through the Night is a collection to remedy life’s stresses and strains. Inside you will find writing from the greatest of classic and contemporary authors; stories that will brighten and inspire, move and delight, soothe and restore in equal measure.

This is an anthology to devour or to savour at your leisure, each story a perfectly imagined whole to be read and reread, and each a journey to transport the reader away from the everyday. Immersed in the pages you will follow lovers to midnight trysts, accompany old friends on new adventures, be thrilled by ghostly delights, overcome heartbreak, loss and longing, and be warmed by tales of redemption, and of hope and happiness.

Whether as a cure for insomnia, to while away the hours on a midnight journey, or as a brief moment of escapism before you turn in, the stories contained in this remarkable collection provide the perfect antidote to the frenetic pace of modern life – a rich and calming selection guaranteed to see you through the night.

The Student is the story of a young man taking a walk on a winters night and after talking to an old widow and her daughter by a camp fire, undergoes a transformation of his emotions.

What did I think?:

Okay, first of all I have never read any of Chekhov’s work previously, so am slightly unfamiliar with his style. This story is incredibly short, only five pages and I felt as if I had to read it twice to get a real sense of what was going on. It follows a young man called Ivan Velikopolsky who is a student (obviously – see title) of the clerical academy. He is returning from a day’s shooting on a cold winters night and we get the sense that he is feeling rather downcast:

” It seemed to him that the cold that had suddenly come on had destroyed the order and harmony of things, that nature itself felt ill at ease, and that was why the evening darkness was falling more rapidly than usual.”

He begins to think about past events in history and how the weather must have been the same in certain famed events which appears to give him comfort. Spotting a camp fire tended by an old widow and her daughter he joins them and strikes up a conversation about religion – you know, the famous story where Peter denied the Lord before the cock crowed three times? It is also Good Friday at the time of this tale, so the events related to the Crucifixion are obviously prominent in Ivan’s mind. The widow is filled with emotion and weeps and Ivan leaves her deep in thought until finally he feels filled with a sort of joy, with a sudden understanding that “the past is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.” The sudden shift in his emotions leaves him in a state of pure happiness, which is probably why this story can be found in the “Stories that make you glad to be alive” section of this collection. For me, I didn’t see the necessity of religion to tell this story but I liked the shift of emotions that took place which turned the tale round from its initial gloomy beginnings. A fairly interesting (and very short) read but perhaps not my best introduction to Chekhov? If anyone can recommend any others, I’m happy to give them a go!

Would I recommend it?:

Probably not.

Star rating (out of 5):

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NEXT SHORT STORY: The Monkey by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew

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2 comments on “Short Story Challenge – The Student by Anton Chekhov from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night

  • I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t great, hope your next short story is! I have yet to read any Stephen King but I really want to 🙂

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