The Summary of Misery by Anton Chekhov
In the story Misery, Anton Chekhov describes a devastated father, Iona, who grieves for the loss of his son. Iona, being a Russian sleigh driver, hopelessly attempts to wear his heart on his sleeve and share his sorrow with complete strangers. In order to feel relief, the father is willing anyone to hear him. This story is a manifestation of the human indifference and inability to console someone in need. It uncovers the complete deprivation of the human engagement and commiseration to the person’s grief. All three Iowa’s tries to find a shoulder to cry on end up unsuccessfully. The only creature that helps him accept his son’s death with resignation is his faithful horse.
Iona’s first passenger and listener at the same time appears a military officer. When Iona starts telling his tragic story, an officer seems to get into it. However, once a desperate father tries to provide more details, a fare loses his temper and starts yelling at the poor driver. In the attempt to get a little bit of sympathy, Iona experiences only rude behavior of the passenger.
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After the military officer, Iona gives a ride to three offensive young men. Although they were rude and obnoxious, Iona offers them his services, hoping that the men will lend him a sympathetic ear. However, everything turns out totally opposite to what Iona expected. One of the men replies that each of us is going to die. Such an answer lacks compassion and Iona remains inconsolable.
Finally, when Iona has no strength to hold his innermost thoughts in, he takes his faithful horse to the stable. There, he bumps into another cabman who gets asleep once a depressed father has revealed his grief. Iona is willing to disclose his feelings and share the details of his son’s death, but no person expresses an interest. Such human indifference deepens the father’s sorrow and amplifies his emotions. He watches dozens of people who just go by and take no notice of the heartbroken man. Is it possible to find among these thousands just one person who will listen to him?
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