Chekhov and Carver - Struggles of Real Life

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Topic: A writer has the power to reflect on the world in which they live. What do the writers Chekhov and Carver say about the struggles of real life in the society around them? Discuss, using quotes and references to characters and scenes within the chosen short stories.

The short stories, ‘The Bet’ and ‘Cathedral’ by Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver respectively, both investigate the struggles of real life in society around them. Chekhov and Carver present the struggles created by greed and jealousy, how easily one takes things for granted and the affect of social isolation on the mental wellbeing of an individual.

Greed is the selfish desire for more than one needs or deserves. Once an individual obtains their desired object or possession, a strong impulse to receive more and more can arise and thus negatively influence their daily life. The Lawyer and Banker, in Chekhov’s ‘The Bet’ acted upon excessive impulses and greed. They did not examine the ‘betting’ situation clearly or concisely. At the beginning of the story the Lawyer acted greedy when he accepted the bet from the Banker. He wanted to prove to the Banker that he was not a weak individual and that he was capable to claim victory of the bet. The Lawyer’s behaviour was irrational because he mistakenly believed due to his greed, that the value of the money won, would compensate for the 15 years of voluntary imprisonment. ‘And this wild, senseless bet was carried out!’ The Banker treasured his money immensely, but by the end of the story, his luck had changed dramatically, whereby as having lost his fortune through gambling, he believed that the Lawyer would ruin him if he were to pay the two million and lose the bet. Therefore, he was willing to commit the greatest crime of all, murder. ‘The one means of being saved from bankruptcy and disgrace is the death of that man!’ This plan illustrated the Banker’s greed, explained by the extent that he cared more for his money, even over the life of...
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