Chekhov and Tolstoy

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Realism is a style of writing that is a look into human behavior incorporating realistic mindsets and events that can be related to a problem in society. Realism takes out all the idealism in a story and relates the story to realistic reactions to a plausible situation. Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" and Chekhov's "The Bet" are works of realism that have similar themes and calls out against czarist rule and its direct relation to Russia's industrialization, and the corruption that fuelled it. Millions of people suffered and/or died during Russia's attempt to compete with the rest of the worlds advancement in industry. Russia was ruled by an autocratic style government where the Czar's word was final. The population consisted of serfs, (practically slaves); a very small middle class, and nobles. These writers use images, tones, irony, and other literary devices that further push their cry against the immoralities that are involved with Czarist rule and the growth of the industrial revolution. Without ever actually mentioning the industrial revolution, symbols are used to represent ideas that are related to the industrial revolution.

In these stories; characters, events, and settings are symbols used to relate the story to the industrial revolution. Often these symbols are not mentioned without a unpleasant tone to them. For example, in "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" the devil obviously represents temptation. Pahom states "If I had plenty of land I should not fear the devil himself." (Tolstoy, 752) This statement is related to the ideas that fuelled the industrial revolution; the more industry we make, the more powerful we'll be. The devil, also called the "Evil One" in the story, makes sure that Pahom is set on this track that eventual leads to his death. Pahom's dream also had symbolic meaning. Dreams are said to be predictions of the future, especially when they are used in in story writing. Pahom had a dream about his eventual fate, and in the...
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