The Cherry Orchard

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Modernist Literature
In the world of literature, modernism is represented by the moving away from traditional rules and practices, looking at man’s place in the world with a realistic view, and experimenting with form and style. Modernism focuses on the use of language and the function of the actual writing. Modernist literature moves away from Romanticism by exploring subject matter that in the past was viewed as boring and often pessimistic. Instead of using language that is poetic, the language used in modernist literature is explicit. Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” is an example of Modern literature because it tosses aside traditional structures and theatrical conventions. The play’s four act structure and the symbolism of the setting both exemplify examples of modernism in literature. The four act structure of “The Cherry Orchard” is an example of modernism because it rejects the traditional five act structure used in romanticism. Chekhov uses each act to represent one of the four seasons. The passage of time is usually told by the weather or the condition of the cherry trees. This is evident in the beginning of the story as the cherry trees are in full blossom indicating that it is spring and also in the final act when the characters part ways during the winter leaving each other until spring comes again. The structure also differs from romanticism in the way that there are series of montages that show time has passed without the specific details. This sometimes gives a less exciting feel to the story because the dramatic action is taking place behind the scenes and the reader is left to only view the characters’ reaction. This technique is used when Madame Ranevsky and Peter discuss her hardships from the past: MADAME RANEVSKY. My little boy was drowned here. Be gentle with me, dear, kind …Peter. TROPHIMOF. You know I sympathise with all my heart.

MADAME RANEVSKY. Yes, yes, but you ought to say it somehow differently. ( Chekhov 32)....
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