Anton Chekhov

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In Anton Chekhov's "The Confession", what are people whispering about Gregory Kuzmich?

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In Anton Checkhov's short story "The Confession", Gregory Kuzmich narrates how his world changed after he was given the position of cashier. Although the position does not grant too much extra money, the fact that the job places Kuzmich so close to ready-money makes him become quite popular with everybody that he knows. What Kuzmich does not realize, until it is too late, is that everyone around him, from his brother, to his bride, to his co-workers, to his friends, are all crooks who expected him to "loan" them money from the cash box. After all, they would tell him, he can replace the money at any time!

The main issue lied in that this sudden show of attention was quite welcome to Gregory, who bought into it and allowed everybody to take advantage of his position. Hence, they all benefited from the money that he gave them all, as well as with the food, drink, and celebrations that they prompted a foolish Gregory to organize. Sadly for Gregory, as the people ate his food, drank his drinks, and celebrated at his place, they also whispered behind his back that he was a thief and that all of his money was stolen.

All those who were shouting, lauding, and kissing me, were whispering behind my back, thumbing their noses at me. I saw their smiles and heard their sighs. "He stole it, the crook!" they whispered, grinning maliciously.

This was true, the money was indeed stolen, but it was not because Gregory was a thief at heart; it was because he felt the need to please his very accusers. Hence, the very day after his promotion, Gregory is caught and this vignette of his life becomes "the" confession that gives the story its title.

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