Anton Chekhov

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What do Ivan and Masha feel once they realize they have not won the lottery in the story "The Lottery Ticket"?

In "The Lottery Ticket," Ivan and Masha are plunged into despair once they realize they have not won the lottery. Ivan expresses thoughts of hanging himself, and both characters suddenly feel that the rooms of their home are "dark and small."

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To answer this question, we need to rewind a little and discuss how Ivan and Masha felt when they mistakenly thought that Masha had won the lottery. After a period of disbelief, both had become angry, with Ivan being convinced that she would "begrudge [him] every farthing" and thinking that his wife would want to travel the world on her own. He thinks about all her relations who would come for their share of the spoils and becomes even angrier. For her part, Masha feels sure that her husband will be the first to come for her money. In a nutshell, the couple had turned quickly to thoughts of hatred and greed.

Hatred and greed fall away in an instant when they realize that the winning number came from series forty-six, rather than series twenty-six. Ivan immediately questions the meaning of life and his mood darkens. This soon leads to suicidal thoughts, with him threatening to hang himself "on the first aspen tree."

While we are not told as much about Masha's reaction, we do know that for both spouses, "hatred and hope both disappeared as one." They both suddenly feel that the rooms in their home are dark and dingy and that the food they had just been eating was sitting unpleasantly in their stomachs. From the excitement and heightened emotions that both had been feeling prior to the realization that they had not won, they are plunged into despair and a feeling that life is worthless.

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