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.

Historical Context

(Short Stories for Students)

Russian Literature in the Nineteenth Century
Chekhov’s innovations as a short story writer appeared on the Russian...

(The entire section is 814 words.)

Literary Style

(Short Stories for Students)

Chekhov’s short story is in the style of realism, which predominated Russian literature throughout the...

(The entire section is 1063 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Short Stories for Students)

1890s: Russia is under the reign of the czars Alexander III (1881–1894) and Nicholas II (1894– 1917). Russia is in the...

(The entire section is 459 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Critics have long debated Chekhov’s perspective on women, especially as portrayed in his short story ‘‘The Darling.’’ In your own...

(The entire section is 343 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Short Stories for Students)

The Short Story Collection: Classic Short Stories includes Chekhov’s ‘‘Lady with a Toy Dog’’ and was recorded on...

(The entire section is 33 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Short Stories for Students)

The Seagull (1896) is one of Anton Chekhov’s most celebrated plays. It concerns two actresses and two writers...

(The entire section is 284 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Short Stories for Students)

Gilles, Daniel, in Chekhov: Observer without Illusion, Funk & Wagnalls, 1967, p. xv.


(The entire section is 372 words.)