What happens every time Smirnov touches a chair in "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Anton Chekhov's farcical play, "The Bear," the character, Smirnov is called the "bear" because of his extreme physical strength and also because he is a rather indecent and often aggressive human being. Popova, the woman he goes to see to recoup a debt owed by her late husband, calls him a bear as an insult.

"You're a boor! A coarse bear! A Bourbon! A monster!"

One of the reasons Popova calls Smirnov a bear is because when he touches a chair, it "creaks and breaks," due to his great strength.

Smirnov decides they should have a duel because Popova has insulted him, and she agrees, going off to get dueling pistols. Of course, while she is away, Smirnov realizes he is actually falling in love with Popova, and when she returns, he confesses that love to her.

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