Study Guide

Gooseberries

by Anton Chekhov

Gooseberries Essay - Critical Essays

Critical Overview

Critical response to ‘‘Gooseberries’’ has been overwhelmingly positive. The story is praised for its complexity in content and form and for Chekhov’s controlled presentation of his characters and themes. Relating the story to Chekhov’s fiction in general, Milton A. Mays of Southern Humanities Review notes that it is ‘‘one of Chekhov’s finest stories, and one which is central to an important thematic pattern in the author’s work as a whole.’’ Sean O’Faolain of Short Story remarks that ‘‘Gooseberries’’ is

one of the loveliest of stories. So much irony; so much humor; so kind and understanding; and wrapped up in the most delicate poetic mood. It is probably one of the most perfect stories in the whole of the world’s literature.

As one of Chekhov’s mature works, ‘‘Gooseberries’’ demonstrates his ability to address complex subject matters in subtle, realistic ways. Simon Baker in Reference Guide to Short Fiction praises Chekhov for this: Baker writes, ‘‘The lack of any overt didactic purpose, other than the fallible and ignored assertions of Ivan Ivanich, makes ‘Gooseberries’ all the more remarkable for its effect on the reader.’’ Baker adds, ‘‘If a great story is not what it says, but what it whispers, ‘Gooseberries’ stands alongside the finest of Chekhov’s achievements.’’

The character of Ivan has drawn...

(The entire section is 557 words.)