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About Love - Class 12 Heritage of words

About Love         Anton Chekov

Revealing his perception about mysterious Love, Anton Chekov in his story ‘About Love’ expresses that love is governed by emotions which doesn’t care any physical restriction. Describing three love stories, the writer puts forward logic that, “Love is different in each situation and it isn’t confined within marital relationship”.
In a rainy day Alyohin narrated these love stories to his friends while having breakfast. Nikanor, a cook was in love with a beautiful maid servant Pelageya and they were living in the same house although they weren’t married. When Nikanor was drunk and had a violent temper he used to abuse and beat her. Sometimes, she had to hide herself to avoid misconduct from Nikanor. Being a person of religious conviction, Nikanor insisted that she marry him. However, she didn’t want to marry with him, rather she was ready to live with him just so, despite their contradictory views and characters, they were in deep love with each other which was a great mystery.
Alyohin, the narrator, while studying at universities used to be in love with a university girl and was living with her in the same house. Although, Alyohin wanted to devote himself completely in love, the girl constantly used to think about monetary and household matters and about destiny of their love. He considered such behaviors in love would be the hindrance and source of irritation and dissatisfaction.
The writer through this story suggests that Love is a great mystery and everything which has been written about love is only a statement of questions that have remained unanswered. The explanation that would fit in one case does not apply to a dozen others. Hence the writer concludes that every case of love should be explained separately without generalization. In other words, each case should be individualized. The next story can be taken as an illustration about love not bound by marital relations. It is about love between Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna, the wife of Luganovich. It ends with separation between the lovers. The writer has treated love as an emotion and passion that cannot be controlled by wisdom and sense of reason.
Alyohin, the narrator of the story, holds the view that the people in love always ask themselves whether it is honorable or dishonorable, sensible or stupid and so on. He feels that it is a hindrance and a source of dissatisfaction and irritation. On the base of his experience, he admits that one must reason about love from either higher or more important level than happiness as well as unhappiness or one most not reason at all. He narrates his experience in love with a married woman Anna.
According to it, after his graduation from the university he was obliged to look after the farm because his estate was heavily mortgaged for the sake of his education. He tried to maintain the civilized living with his hard work in the field. In those days he was elected as honorary justice of the peace. So he had to visit the town to take part in legal matters frequently. He made friends in the town who would receive him warmly. One of them was Luganovich, the assistant president of the circuit court. Once he invited the narrator to his house for dinner. There the narrator was introduced with his wife Anna who was in her early twenties. She was 5 www.hsebnotes.com 

beautiful, kind, intelligent and fascinating. The narrator sensed himself being familiar with her. Luganovich was also good natured and simple minded. He was in his forties. They had a conversation about the legal matters. Luganovich had a strong conviction against guilty people.
After that, the intimacy between them increased. Very soon he became one of their family members. The memory of Anna haunted him when he was at the village. He felt the presence of her shadow on his soul. He always experienced the feeling of nearness. She seemed to be equally influenced by him and greeted him with anxious air. On several occasions they would stay together and walk here and there. Both Luganovich and Anna looked worried about him and his way of living. They wanted to help him in different ways. The narrator Alyohin sometimes regretted that she had not met hem before her marriage with Luganovich. Although they were attracted towards one another, they did not confess their love. The narrator thought that she could not be happy with him as his wife. She also reasoned the same way. In course of time, she became moody and recognized that her life was without satisfaction. She displayed an odd irritation with him. At the end he was separated from her when her husband got an appointment in the western province. Being sick she left for the Crimea. At the time of the farewell, he ran into her compartment to place a basket while the train started moving away from the platform. There, both of them lost their restraint and came together. They confessed their love for one another in tears and embraced. After that, they separated.
The story of the narrator clearly illustrates the point that their successful efforts to suppress their deep and genuine longing for one another resulted into grief, disorder and sickness. Owing to the divided feelings and emotions, Anna could not do justice either to her family or her love or herself. The mental pressure drove her indifferent to her family and made her a sick woman. Likewise, the troublesome life led by the cook, Nikanor and his beloved Pelageya is the outcome of such fruitless reflection. 


Important Questions from About Love by Anton Chekov Short Answer Questions
1. What kinds of love experiences are suggested by Alyohin in ‘About Love’? [2057] 2. How did Alyohin define love?[2064, 2065] 3. Sketch the character of Luganovich briefly. [2068] 4. Why is Alyohin compared with “Squirrel in Cage” in the story ‘About Love’? Elaborate [2069]

Long Answer Questions
1. Sketch the character of Alyohin. [2062]
Glossary: [perception: belief, conviction: found to be guilty of a crime, contradictory: different, obliged: feel forced to do something, mortgaged: something valuable kept to lend money as an insurance of return ( िधतो ), intimacy: special friendship restraint: control, embraced: to hug or hold lovingly]

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