Analysis of Chekhov's "An Artist's Story"

Topics: Meaning of life, Narrative / Pages: 1 (1327 words) / Published: Dec 9th, 2014
Benjamin Gordon
Period 9
Chekhov’s Midterm
“This is of no interest to you.” In “The House With the Mezzanine,” or alternately titled
“An Artist’s Story,” by Anton Chekhov, Mr X and Lida have an argument for the ages, prefaced by many awkward exchanges between the two, often ending in “This is of no interest to you.” Lida, the social worker, and Mr X, the landscape artist, have very little in common. So when they start arguing, it gets intense.
Mr X feels that society is holding everyone back, and that the real problem is that the people who need help are the ones who are poor, and whose families are poor and have always been poor stretching back generations, and that they will never get out of these cycles. Mr X cites that the issue is society, and that even institutions such as hospitals and schools are holding us back because they give us as humans more things to worry about. He says that the solution to this problem is to equally spread out the work to every person, rich or poor, to be two to three hours a day. With the rest of the time on our hands, he suggests we use it to study religion and science in order to find the meaning of life, because if we all put our minds to it, we will truly find the true mysteries of the universe.
The ideas that Mr X spews in the argument are very radical, as Lida points out. Why does finding the meaning of life equal happiness? How could schools and hospitals actually hold people back? The idea that we wouldn’t have illnesses if there weren’t hospitals is so ridiculous, but as a reader, you find yourself agreeing with him for some reason. Why?
Because of how Chekhov develops the story and the characters in it. Chekhov uses Mr X’s perspective, antagonizing of Lida, and a conflicting love interest in order to make the reader want to agree with Mr X.
Chekhov characterizes our narrator so that the reader loves him. Because he is the narrator, you hear his voice more than anyone elses by far, and his

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