The Darling

By Anton Chekov, @ 10 pages.

It’s funny how the title of a work can influence what you imagine it will be. “The Darling” doesn’t sound that exciting to me, and it wasn’t, but I would not have guessed that I would come away from it with such a high level of repulsion.

Olenka is the protagonist of the story and “The Darling.” Chekov tells us that Olenka is the sort of person who always has to have someone to love. When there is no one in her life to love, she stagnates to the point of having no independent thought at all. When she is with someone she loves, her thoughts are merely repeats of their thoughts.

“The Darling” seems to give a stereotype of a Russian woman. From my time there, it seems that the older women I met sometimes behaved in this way and had these values. But I come away from the story confused. Is this sort of character an ideal for a Russian woman? From the way Chekov wrote the story, I have to form the opinion that it is not.

Overall it seems a really sad story that I don’t plan to revisit.


2 thoughts on “The Darling

  1. Does this mean that you found the story to be unsuccessful, or just a melancholy one? When you say you won’t be revisiting it, is it because you thought it to be a ‘bad’ book, or just something really sad? I haven’t read it myself, but now I’m intrigued!


    1. I’ve been reviewing several short stories lately in an effort to figure out how to write in the short story form. The Darling left me with an uncomfortable feeling—just my personal reaction probably. It might strike you differently. As far as it being a successful short story, I guess it must be because it’s included in several anthologies, so the “people in the know” like it. The protagonist doesn’t seem to change throughout and, to me, just plain isn’t likable because of her dependence on others for her opinions. I often find that if I revisit a story, I notice things I hadn’t before, but this one doesn’t intrigue me.

      I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read it. It’s pretty short. Maybe you’ll see something I didn’t. 🙂


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