Study Guide

Varya in The Cherry Orchard

By Anton Chekhov


We don't know about you, but if we had to choose to be someone in this play, it wouldn't be Varya. She has it hard. Nobody calls her "darling" or "pretty one" like they do Anya. Lubov, her own (adopted) mother observes, "Varya is just as she used to be, just like a nun" (1.26). Always jangling her caretaker's keychain, she's uptight, conservative, a bit bossy. When Lubov returns, Varya tries to keep Trofimov away and runs everybody off: "Well, sirs, it's getting on for three, quite time you went" (1.93).

Varya's not a laugh, but how could she be? She carries the responsibility of the entire estate. When Lubov wastes money on elaborate lunches, does Lubov face the starving peasants? Nope. It's Varya. No wonder she wants to escape to a convent. Her encounters with the world have been less than inspiring.

Is she in love with Lopakhin? Who knows? She's lonely. She's a practical woman and she respects him. He works as hard as she does and knows the value of a buck. But, as she says, she can't propose to him herself.