Chelkash (1895), Malva (1897) - History of US Literature

Chelkash (1895)

In the story, each of the conflicting sides suffers defeat in its own way: the thief Chelkash, a brave, strong, desperate and generous man, and the peasant guy Gavrila, who could not stand the temptation of money and decided to rob and kill his partner. Tchelkache suffers defeat not when the stone of Gavrila rips his skull. The higher stress of action is not here. Gavrila strikes his most terrible blow for Chelkash before, and just a word. The peak of the conflict is the moment when Gavrila, gifted with money, dumbfounded with happiness, blurts out everything that is on his mind:

"Because what did I think? We're going to go ... I think ... I'll grab him - you - with a paddle ... rrraz! .. Money - for yourself, for him - in the sea ... you something ... eh? Who, they say, will miss him? And they will find, they will not ask - how yes who. Not such, they say, a man, because of him the noise is rising! .. Unnecessary on earth! Who should stand for it?

Tchelkache is mortally offended not by the fact that they wanted to kill him and rob him, for he calmly despises the villainy greed of a peasant boy. The Chelkash of the word "unnecessary on the ground", lashed with a murderous truth, especially since they were told inadvertently, without intent. Insignificant and pitiful, Gavrila is not without reason convinced of his superiority over the proud Chelkash. He, a small master, really needs the society that Chelkash has crossed out, even his name has been erased. Gregory - so called the hero only once, in remembrance; Tchelkache is probably his thieves' nickname. The tragedy of a man without a name will be played out by the fate of the actor in the play "At the bottom."

The meaning of the finale of the struggle of the heroes is not so much in the generosity of Tchelkache, as in his revenge by an insignificant winner. After the attempted murder in Gavril, fear is most severe, not only in front of people, but before God, the petition for mortal sin is most needed. For this, no longer for money, he returns to the bleeding Chelkash. Revenge and the inner triumph of Chelkash is that he forces Gavril to play his humiliating role to the end: take money without "forgiveness", turn it inside out, admit that the thirst for money is stronger than torture of conscience, fear of God.

The grain of the drama sprouts in all layers of the narrative: in the "dramatic" the type of psychological analysis, when polar feelings and states are reduced to one point - generosity and revenge, contempt and envy, "acute pity and hatred," fun and bitterness ("cheerful and caustic"); in expressive verbal oppositions {"wild music", "hawkish eyes"). We hear dramatic notes in the open author's voice - in the "screensaver" story, in the panorama of the port with its main motive: people and cars, the enormity of labor and its facelessness, servitude.

Malva (1897)

This story is close to Chelkash by the type of dramatic conflict. His focus is indicated in the dispute between Malva and Basil about the female destiny. With challenge, Malva defends her right to women's liberty, the right to be a "nobody's", her refusal from the destined rural woman's share: "I do not want to marry in the village, but I must marry. A married woman - an eternal slave ... And here I am nobody's ... Like a seagull, wherever I want, I'll fly there! " Basil, however, affirms his peasant truth, his understanding of the woman's share: "In the village, a woman is a necessary person for life ... but here she is ... she only lives for pampering ... For sin."

This dispute does not solve the heroes. The truth is on this and the other side, and it is impossible to connect these truths. In fact, having left the "eternal slavery" villages, finding, it seemed, a desired free life, Malva inevitably ceases to be "necessary for a person's life", becomes just a woman "for self-indulgence". Nothing else is given to it, and the attitude of others around with relentlessness confirms this. But the "draw", "walking" a woman touches and amazes not by the hopelessness of her situation: she is a man with awakened heightened demands for life, not accepting destiny destined - eternal women's slavery. This is the artistic novelty and originality of the Gorky resolution of the theme of "rejected".

In the realistic basis of the narration in small dramas Gorky penetrates elements of romantic poetics - this expresses the originality of the artistic approach to the topic. So the moment of appearance of the hero is emphasized: he immediately stands out from the environment with something excellent, not very usual - whether it's a special smile ("so the peasants do not smile"), or a detail of a certain grace in the guise ("a branch of lime" on the head Chelkash), or a reflection of the unexpected in the "ragamuffin" intelligence (from Konovalov). Malva appears as if from the sea, in a boat, from a tempting distance. The motif of the relationship of the heroine with the sea is remarkable not only for the external, landscape background, but also for the play of hidden associations in her portrait. The eyes of Malva - "greenish", the colors of the sea depths. Laughs, plays with a smile Malva - "laughs" the sea itself.

Enlightened romantic top stories are created and the fact that their characters are almost excluded from everyday life. So, for example, we never see Malva in a barracks for workers, during their dirty work. The image of the heroine is placed in a different "frame". Her drama is played out mainly where the "sea and sky and no mean people".

In Gorky's early stories, in addition to the motives for social sounding, there are also philosophical and ethical motives. In particular, such a motive arises in the story "Malva", when the heroine reads "The Life of God's Man Alexis", addressed to her by his universal riddle: what motivates a man who runs not from poverty but from prosperity and wealth?


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