Nothing Special about Margo and Ivan; the atypical heroes of Viktoria Tokareva’s short story By: Andrea Mucino
“Nothing Special” is a wonderful short story that details the happy and not so special moments of two characters and their close friends and family. Written by Viktoria Tokareva, it is realistically optimistic yet at the same time incredibly depressing story about two people who fall in love but cannot be together due to their personal problems. During the class discussion it was brought up various times that the main characters were “hated” because of their lack of motivation to change their lives. Their self-pitying and self-destructive tendencies were not very well tolerated by the students. The class did not favor the behavior of the main characters, Margo and Ivan, because it reflects natural human responses to tragedy and trauma, but realistically speaking, their reactions are heavily supported by the events in their lives. Margo and Ivan may not have acted like a traditional hero or heroine in a story, but they have a many good reasons to act the way they did. Margo is the easiest character in “Nothing Special” to sympathize with. Throughout the first ten pages of the short story, there is a brief overview of her life. Orphaned at 13, the only family she has is her son. She is a working single mother who is waiting for happiness to come to her. Her action of waiting for happiness is the start of where opinions in class concerning the character start to conflict. The class was confused why Margo just sat there day to day, waiting for happiness instead of being proactive and finding it herself. Yet, if anyone took a step back and analyzed their own personal lives, it should not be a surprise that the majority of people do the very same thing. For example, a typical college student goes to and from class every day with nothing special in a typical day or week and most of them are waiting for happiness to hit them in the head. Happiness comes in many different shapes and sizes, what could be happiness for someone could be bad luck to another. But one thing that stereotypically makes anyone happy is love. Love is what Margo is waiting for. It is understandable why Margo is craving love so dearly. She has never been loved before, and the author makes that clear when detailing the life Margo has led. Although it is emphasized that Margo was born under a lucky star, she was born under a pretty unlucky star concerning love. She dating record is subpar and she tends to fall for men who are no good for her. She became enamored with an Arab called Bedr el- Din Maria Muhammad. An international situation would not allow him to stay in Russia, so he left although not before Margo got pregnant and had a son. Her next “boyfriend” was no better, in fact if anything the relationship should make any girl sympathize with Margo . Margo fell in love with Gena, who warned her he was in love with someone else. Margo had a very forward warning, and yet it does not stop her from being affectionate and falling in love with him. Although Margo is not smart about choosing to be in a one sided relationship, it is easy to sympathize with someone so desperate. She wants to be happy and in order for her to accomplish her goal, she needs to fall in love. As the novel states, “Margo knew how to live for the moment and didn’t look ahead.” Margo’s behavior is a foolish way to act but no incentive to hate her character. Margo accomplishes her goal: she wants to fall in love and she does. Unfortunately Gena did not love her back. One striking line right before the accident, as they were flying into the crash Margo turns to Gena, holds his hand and says, “I’m happy.” Although to a reader this relationship is obviously unhealthy and will never be the sort of love to desire, it made Margo happy because she had never been in love before. To her, the one sided love affair with Gena is the best relationship she had ever experienced. It made her...
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