In "A Problem," Anton Chekhov depicts a familial dispute centered around Sasha Uskov, who (to quote the story itself) "had cashed at one of the banks a false promissory note" (as translated by Constance Garnett). The question at the center of this dispute is whether they ought to bail Sasha out or allow him to suffer the consequences of his misconduct. What is particularly interesting, as far as this story is concerned, is the terms in which Chekhov frames this dispute. As the story puts it, this is a question which concerns
...whether they should pay the money and save the family honour, or wash their hands of it and leave the case to go for trial.
What's important about this specific framing is the way in which the Colonel himself describes it as a false dilemma. As the Colonel understands it, there is nothing honorable about shielding relatives from the consequences of their own misconduct. He cites his experience in the army to support his viewpoint. In this dispute, the Colonel...
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