Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Unlike many other well-known Russian authors, such as Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevski, Chekhov is famed for an economy of words and a sparing use of detail. Almost every word is important and is used to convey a single impression of a person or situation. Chekhov portrays Olenka in three very different romantic situations with the identical result; the reader cannot fail to grasp the point. The fourth situation occurs when the time for romantic love has passed, yet the love for the boy, Sasha, produces the same result: complete adoption of the opinions of the person loved. In the limited space of the short story the various characters are well-defined, demonstrating the ability of the author to impart much information in a very small space.