The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov
Everyone in the play is a little obsessed with Lubov's seventeen-year-old daughter Anya. Dunyasha calls her "darling" and "pet" (1.32), and Varya calls her "darling" and "pretty one" (1.43). Gaev gets a little crazy telling her good night: "My darling! [Kisses ANYA'S face and hands] My child. ... [Crying] You're not my niece, you're my angel, you're my all" (1.204). And when Trofimov sees her at the end of Act 1, he whispers, "My sun! My spring!" (1.223). Anya, Anya, Anya. What's so special about her?
As befitting the Eternal Student, Trofimov has hit it on the head. She's Spring. She's what the older generation wishes they still were: a child. All of her life choices are ahead of her, not in a past to be regretted.
A surprisingly minor and inactive character, Anya does undergo one important change in the play. In Act 1, she shares her mother's viewpoint entirely. She loves home and agonizes with Varya over the fate of the orchard:
ANYA. Oh God, oh God ...
VARYA. The place will be sold in August.
ANYA. O God. ... (1.54-56)
At the end of Act 2, her romance with Trofimov has changed her:
What have you done to me, Peter? I don't love the cherry orchard as I used to. I loved it so tenderly, I thought there was no better place in the world than our orchard. (2.148)
She promises to leave the estate. When the orchard is sold, Anya, sensitive and caring like her mother, comforts Lubov: "don't cry mother, you've still got your life before you, you've still your beautiful pure soul" (3.134). But her relief is apparent as they leave. Even Lubov notices it through her grief:
LUBOV. [Passionately kisses her daughter] My treasure, you're radiant, your eyes flash like two jewels! Are you happy? Very?
ANYA. Very! A new life is beginning, mother! (4.53-54)
Young and full of curiosity, Anya wants to read and study. She's still able to change her mind and her ways. She embodies hope.