Anton Chekhov

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What does Ivan think Masha will do with the lottery money in "The Lottery Ticket"?

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In "The Lottery Ticket," Ivan feels that, when Masha gets the lottery money, she will give him only a very small amount and then lock up the rest. He imagines that she will be extremely penurious and begrudge spending any of it. She will also take better care of her relatives than him.

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In the short story "The Lottery Ticket" by Anton Chekhov, Ivan's wife, Masha, asks him to check in the newspaper for the number of the lottery ticket she has purchased. It is a long number followed by a short number, and to Ivan's surprise, he finds the long number in the winner's list. Rather than check the shorter number right away, he pauses to daydream about what would happen if they won. They are a middle-class family that would benefit greatly from an influx of money. Ivan acknowledges that of course the ticket belongs to his wife, but he supposes that if it were his, he would buy an estate, furnish it, and then bank the rest of the money and "get interest on it." The estate would also "bring in an income." He imagines relaxing in the summer and traveling abroad in the winter.

Ivan's thoughts then become negative when he considers what his wife would probably do with her winnings. He imagines that she might travel and go shopping but that she would complain because "she had spent so much money." He supposes that her relations, all her "wretched brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles," would come around begging for money. He thinks that she will probably "look after her relations and grudge me every farthing." She will give him only a very small amount of money and "put the rest under lock and key." In other words, he does not think that she will share much of her winnings with him. He begins to feel hateful thoughts towards Masha, and he can see by her expression that she feels the same way towards him. Their daydreams and illusions are shattered, though, when Ivan informs her that the smaller numbers on the lottery ticket do not match, and so they have not won.

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