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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A chameleon by Anton Cekhov

Hello everyone! Today I'm introducing a new series to my blog, called World Wednesday. I am not planning on posting these every week, but when I do, I will post about any piece of literature I’ve read that is set in a different culture, religion, country, state, continent, etc. It will be a window for people to share their opinions on literature that is outside of their comfort zones, and hopefully inspire them to read and learn more about other cultures. In a world that is so interconnected, it is important for us to know about other people's lives.
  For this first post, I will be writing about "A Chameleon" by Anton Chekhov, a short satire set in Russia.

"A chameleon" by Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov's short satire "A chameleon" succeeds in proving that characterization is indeed "one of the most powerful tools a writer uses to influence the perspective of readers." His main character, Otchumyelov, is a hypocritical police inspector who wants nothing more than to be thought of as amazing by his seniors and to be feared by his juniors.
  Chekhov clearly satirizes the hypocrisy of society in his time through this short story.The plot of the story is a simple one, but it's written very efficiently, and shows the change in opinion of the characters very well.
 It is shown that the local goldsmith has been bitten by a dog, and the whole story is written in debate as to whom the dog belongs. As each potential master is discussed, Otchumyelov changes his opinion depending on their status in society. At one point, he even claims that it was the goldsmith-Hryukin's- fault! 
 Chekhov seems to have drawn from his own experiences to write the satire, as he ridicules the treatment of the poor by those higher in society. As a child, his family was poor, and he had to earn most of the money for them. This seems only to have fueled his writing and added more knowledge into his realistic fiction.
 This story can be read as a light read, or as a pass-time, but reminds us of the trials faced by the people in our past- something we shouldn't forget. As I mentioned a few days ago, our past influences our future, and it is important that we recognize the events of the past in order not to make the same mistakes again.

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