9 October 2013
Life to death:
Dependent to Dependent
“Seeing the two corpses, he went up to the stand, and put his own forehead ready for the blow.”
“And all that day his eyes were dimmed by a haze, and he could not even see his own fingers” (65).
How did Zoltov see the death of his animals in relation to his own? Did the lives of the dog and the horse parallel Zoltov’s own life? Was the decision to go to his niece’s house a turning point in his life? And how did the killing of the animals represent the death of Zoltov’s life as he always knew it to be?
The above quote takes place at the end of Chekhov’s short story titled “The ...view middle of the document...
One can see that it is just not the animals that are dependent of Zoltov, but he also on the animals themselves.
The story opens with the waking of a “decrepit”, lonely man, age “of seventy” (59) that was not of the “peasant” class, but of the “artisan” (59) class. This allows the reader to see that there was most likely a reason that Zoltov owned the animals to begin with and why he has most likely kept them for long after their usefulness. At one time he would have possibly needed them for his trade along with companionship. The reader can assume this by the description of what he did for a living. By being the age of seventy, and long past the time for him to perform his trade, we can see the parallel that the animals were well past their usage also in life. With the description of Zoltov’s routine that he performs upon rising in the morning, one can see that over the years, just like his personal routine, the animals have become a habit that he depends on in his life to keep him going. The spiteful and meanness in his banter with the animals, and their reaction to him, such as going out of the yard when told (61) and then coming back in when told (62), shows that this is both a routine for Zoltov as well as the animals. Although not really stated, it is shown again when Zoltov goes to see the grocer (62) and the animals remain at Zoltov’s home. As if this is a routine for all of them. Yet when Zoltov leaves to go to his niece’s farm (64), the animals sense that this is not a normal routine and they follow (64). With this being stated, it shows that the dependency is interdependent with all three and that they are dependent on each other’s lives and routines.
During that routine, Zoltov goes to visit the neighbor, the grocer, which by the animals not following him, shows that this is a normal, most likely daily routine. Since the animals seem to feel secure to stay at home while Zoltov goes to visit his neighbor (62). While it does not specifically state that the animals stayed at home, one can assume that the animals did because it is not stated that they follow, nor are they mentioned as to being around when he is at the neighbor’s house. The reader can be assured that they were waiting patiently at home for Zoltov to return with something for them to eat, since they did not follow. It shows a trust between all the dependents that is not shown later in the story, where it is specifically stated that they follow Zoltov (64).
While at the neighbor’s home, although Zoltov is out of tea and something to eat for himself, he asks for oats for the horse (62). Which shows that Zoltov is dependent on the horse in a way as he wants to feed the horse before himself in order that the horse may live. Even though Zoltov states a few paragraphs earlier that he does not “want to keep them” and “will you get nothing for me! You may die, for all I care!” (62) , the reader can surmise that one will only take care of someone before...