What is the meaning of the following line from "Vanka" by Anton Chekhov? "'Dear Grandad when they have a Christmas tree at the big house take a gilded nut for me and put it away in the green chest.'"

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That line appears in the letter that the despondent child Vanka is writing to his grandfather. Recall that the child is using the letter to describe how horrible his life is and how he wishes for his grandfather to come take him away, back to the house where he used...

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That line appears in the letter that the despondent child Vanka is writing to his grandfather. Recall that the child is using the letter to describe how horrible his life is and how he wishes for his grandfather to come take him away, back to the house where he used to live, which is full of happy memories.

In that line, the child remembers what he and his grandfather used to do at Christmas time, and he appeals to his grandfather, asking him to set aside a delicious morsel of holiday food for him. Vanka wants to be able to arrive at his grandfather's house, dig out the "gilded nut" from the green chest, and savor it--not only as a treat to satisfy his hunger after being starved in his present home, but also as an indication that his grandfather has been making preparations to save Vanka from his misery and to give him a life filled with love and comfort.

You can also understand that line as one in which Vanka is struggling to convince his grandfather to come get him. The child is making an emotional appeal, reminding the old man of happy times, attempting to inspire him to one small action of generosity and love that will lead to the larger decision to rescue Vanka from his current living situation.

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