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Quotes

Quote #1

TELEGIN: Marina Timofeyevna, whether I'm driving in the fields or walking in the shade of the garden or looking at this table, I feel inexpressible happiness! The weather is delightful, the little birds are singing, we all live in peace and concord – what more could we want? (1.985-102)

Hardy har har. Don't make us laugh, Waffle. Obviously, this line that comes so early in the play is ironic. It's like the little birdies singing just before the hunters come and kill Bambi's mom (oh, spoiler alert). But Telegin's idea that everything is well has to do with his connection to nature; a connection that the unhappy people in the play just don't have.

Quote #2

ASTROV: [...] [To Yelena Andreyevna] I'll be really pleased if you and Sofya Aleksandrovna come and see me some time. I've a little place, just thirty desyatinas, but if you're interested, I have a first-rate garden and you won't find a nursery like mine within a thousand versts. Next door is the state forest… The forester there is old and always ill, so in practice I run it all. (1.267-72)

First of all, an FYI. A desyatina is a unit of area measure, so Astrov has something like 81 acres of land. And versts are a unit of length pretty close to a kilometer. Anyway, he's using his own connection to nature to try to woo Yelena. It's not just his ownership of the land, but also his management and knowledge of it that he sees as strong points.

Quote #3

YELENA ANDREYEVNA: [to Astrov] You're still a young man, you look—well, thirty-six, thirty-seven—and it can't be as interesting as you say. Just trees and trees. Monotonous, I would think. (1.285-87)

And here comes the screeching halt to all that nice talk about nature we were getting from Telegin and Astrov. Yelena tells it like it is, which is boring, in her eyes anyway. So her connection to nature, as a city woman, is basically nil. This is one way we learn that Yelena is the sort of listless, lazy woman who is easily bored.

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