The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov

The Cherry Orchard Analysis

Literary Devices in The Cherry Orchard

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The beautiful white orchard means different things to different people. It represents Lubov's heritage and her youth – a disappearing paradise. For Gaev, it's a symbol of status, mentioned in...

Setting

In February of 1861, Alexander II emancipated serfs in Russia. Serfs were very much like slaves, but different in that they were attached to the land. If a piece of land was sold, serfs stayed with...

Genre

As Dolly Parton says in Steel Magnolias – and we may be paraphrasing here – "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Chekhov felt the same, and often included stage directions s...

Tone

Characterization is the center of Chekhov's work. The pivotal events of the play seem inevitable – and take place offstage. As the Chekhov translator Paul Schmidt says, Chekhov "cut[s] away t...

Writing Style

"What happens onstage should be just as complicated and just as simple as things are in real life. People are sitting at a table having dinner, that's all, but at the same time their happiness is b...

What's Up With the Title?

The Cherry Orchard really is about a cherry orchard. It's the central plot device in the play. The question "Will the orchard be saved?" gives us a bit of suspense in Chekhov's otherwise leisurely...

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'...

Tough-o-Meter

Nothing in The Cherry Orchard will really throw you for a loop. If you're not familiar with Russian names, it may take you a longer-than-comfortable number of pages to get them straight, but you'll...

Plot Analysis

Lubov and Gaev return to their childhood home on the cherry orchard.The beginning of the play establishes the deep emotional attachment Lubov and others have to the cherry orchard. At this point, i...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Comedy or Tragedy

Chekhov called his play a "Comedy in Four Acts," provoking a famous argument with the director Stanislavsky (see "Genre"). What about the ending: the tearful eviction, the dying old man? It's sad!...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Yes, you're right: Chekhov wrote his play in four acts, not three. This Three Act Plot Analysis is just another way of breaking up the text to understand the way it works. With the meandering struc...

Trivia

In Franny and Zooey, author J.D. Salinger references The Cherry Orchard as an incomparably beautiful work. "You may have seen 'inspired' productions, 'competent' productions, but never anything bea...

Steaminess Rating

Not a lot of steaminess in The Cherry Orchard. Yasha and Dunyasha have a bit of a fling, but it's in PG-13 territory.

Allusions

Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1875), "The Magdalen" (3.72). This poem is about a woman living in sin.The Emancipation of the Serfs (2.79). In 1861 Alexander II freed the serfs on private Ru...

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