The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov
Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
The Cherry Orchard ends with the 87-year-old servant Fiers shuffling out to find that the family has departed without him. He tries the door; it's locked. He lies down on the couch, mumbles, "Life's gone on as if I'd never lived," and grows still (4.134). Then the "breaking string" sound is heard, along with the thudding of an axe.
What to make of it? In leaving the orchard, the family finally cuts ties with the past. It will disappear from their memories, just as they've forgotten Fiers in their preparations to leave. We can't help but think, as well, that there's a last comment here on the damaging selfishness of aristocrats like Lubov and Gaev. They've already failed to take action to save the estate, and in their nostalgic, wallowing good-bye to the house, they fail to secure a safe place for their most loyal servant.