“The Darling,” written by Mr. Chekhov, focuses on Olenka, our main protagonist, whose emotional state is a constant balance of good and evil. She is a woman who “was always loving somebody. She couldn’t get on without loving somebody.” She was often described as a “quiet, kind-hearted, compassionate girl, with a soft gentle way about her. And she makes a very healthy, wholesome impression”. After evaluating her persona, we understand that Olenka is a very vulnerable person who seems to have attachment issues, therefore, causing her innate ability to not function without loving someone.
Further, into the piece, we discover just how vulnerable Olenka is, as she had finally given her love to one singular person. She was married, but soon after received the news; “Ivan Petrovich died suddenly to-day. Awaiting propt orders for wuneral Tuesday.” The tone one could imagine would be quite deep and slow as if it were someone verbally telling her of Ivan’s passing. We go into further depth about her pain, when she gets home, she just “[throws] herself on her bed and broke into such loud sobbing that she could be heard in the street and in the neighbouring yards.”
This piece conveys a heavily emotional individual who against all odds, and all the pain demonstrates great strength through their ability to express their feelings. Olenka is a woman who lives in a misogynistic world. Olenka proves herself to be just as strong as the men and is what some could perceive as a great wife and a beautiful woman.
We can see the extent of her emotional ‘obedience’ when noting how “Her husband’s opinions were all hers. If he thought the room was too hot, she thought so too. If he thought business was dull, she thought business was dull.” She becomes a ‘slave’ to her lover’s mind, forgetting all her own thoughts and abilities to seld-manage. Continuously allowing herself to be overtaken by the force and passion of what she believed to be love.
We can begin to argue that the title “The Darling” isn’t actually referring to Olenka. In fact, it is referring to her love and how she uses it to smother someone else in hopes of finding meaning, a purpose in love. If we were to address her love as “the darling”, then we could suggest that the darling was too powerful, that she enamoured everyone she touched. She overwhelmed them with a joyous feeling of comfort and companionship. “The darling” aka ‘her love’ was one of the most powerful, yet uncontrollable sources in the world.