What does Lopakhin's character reveal about himself and his rising mercantile class in "The Cherry Orchard"?
What does Lopakhin reveal about himself and the rising mercantile class when he says, "Well, I get up at five o'clock in the morning. I work from morning till night; and I've always lots of money on me -- mine and other people's -- and I can see what the people around me are like. One has only to start doing something to realize how few honest, decent people there are about."
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Lopakhin's statement reflects change. In the purest form, his statement represents the idea that Russia is changing. The traditional notion of nobility, serfdom, and blind loyalty to both master and czar is being replaced by a more egalitarian and materialist culture. The son of serfs can now earn money and buy the estate where his family had been chained to for generations. His statement reveals where the pulse of Russia is driving and the fact that change is on the move. Yet, at the same time, the quote also reveals the oblivious nature of the aristocracy. The idea that the growth of materialism and the class of people that go along with the establishment of "new money" are fundamentally different is brought out in the last fragment of the quote. The lack of "honest, decent" people is reflective of the changing atmosphere as well as the fact that this change is not going to be a very smooth one for those who represent that which is fading. Their exit from the stage will not be graceful, dignified, or generous. Rather, it will be abrupt, reflective of this new group who intend on wielding this new form of power. Lopakhin's quote reminds the reader of both the presence of change and the force with which it can disrupt.
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