Professor Bob Shuman
English 110 – V10
September 23, 2014
“Misery” by Anton Chekhov is a short story about a depressed sledge driver, Iona Potapov, whose life is becoming more dreadful as his life goes on. Iona Potapov is a father who is in great despair because he is facing the worst possible loss a parent could face, which is having one of your children pass away. Iona’s son has died about a week before the story is taking place; he gained a fever and was bedridden in the hospital for three days until he later died. Iona Potapov is suffering from the loss of his son and all his attempts to share his feelings with people are futile. The writer’s purpose of this short story was to entice readers to lend their ears to those who are in need of it and to show how cruel human nature is.
Not only is Iona Potapov’s mind is being effected from the grief that is caused from the loss of his son but also his body. Iona has practically isolated himself from his surroundings and is beginning to resemble a corpse. “Iona Potapov, the sleigh-driver, is all white like a ghost. He sits on the box without stirring, bent as double as the living body can be bent. If a regular snowdrift fell on him it seems as though even then he would not think it necessary to brush it off.” (83) Iona is introduced in the story as a man that is all white like a ghost that stays curled up in a fetal like position, and doesn’t move much. When my grandmother lost her son, my uncle, she gained the same appearance and mentality Iona had. She fell into a deep sorrow, only stayed in certain areas, and her skin became pale. My family believed that leaving her alone was the best way for her to cope with her loss but I spoke to her and she completely changed her attitude.
Iona Potapov tried to gain an outlet for his grief but no man paid any mind to him. Iona lacked compassion from all the men he sought to speak to. Iona has a daughter, Anisya that he wants to talk to since he believes women are the best to talk to, but she lives in the country. Iona pleaded for empathy so he made an effort to speak to an officer, another cabman, and three young men about his son but none of them had any consideration to listen to him. All these men ignoring Iona showed how human nature is for most men. When most men are confronted with a topic that could possibly make them feel uncomfortable or sympathetic by a stranger they tend to dodge it in any way possible. When the three young men were confronted by Iona attempting to tell them how his son died, one of the…