Critique of "The Darling"

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For centuries, women have turned and have entrusted in men for advice to fulfill their lives with romance. Some women, even though they had difficulty establishing a satisfactory bond with their spouse, still had a tendency to have a dependency on the male spouse for identity. For a woman to become a "wife" was a defining role in women's lives back then, especially within the eastern European cultures. Sadly, marriage is not always shown to be flowery and romantic as expected. Although Anton Chekov portrays his protagonist character Olga as kind hearted and attractive and favored, she often longs for "love" from the male gender, and serves as the embodiment of female disempowerment.

From Olga's perspective as the story is told, "she cannot exist without being love" (Literature and its Writers, 109) and her life only takes on a meaning through a relationship to the men she attaches herself to. In this story "The Darling," Olga explores and molds herself into many personalities and interests of the men in her life. For instance, After her father's death, Olga is left with only material wealth, and again there is an absence of "love," that Olga wants. So, Olga first marries a theater owner-Kukin. When married to him, she thinks and speaks only of the theater and "repeating Kukin's words to the actors and theater" (Literature and its Writers, 110) also saying "theater is the most important thing in life." Her parroting of her husband's words alone seems as though Olga never allows for thoughts or opinions of her own, as if she never learned how to think for herself is a principal characteristic of Olga that shows her lack of personality and significance in the plot.

Once Kukin dies, she soon marries a timber merchant named Vassily Pustovalov. During this marriage, she thinks, speaks, and even dreams only of timber and mountains of planks and boards carting somewhere far" (Literature and its Writers, 111) while taking his place in his office for him with now...
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