In “The Darling” by Anton Chekhov, people desire the circus and don’t desire theatre. “The public wants a circus, a lot of nonsense, a lot of stuff.” (p. 1). It seems that while Kukin is ranting about what the public wants and how terrible the weather is his words also open us up to the idea of how people are not very accepting of certain things, even without giving them a chance. Whether it be the theatre or certain people the public often wants what is fun. Therefore they prefer a fun circus compared to a more serious theatrical performance. Do we have a habit of following the public norm and decide that some things are more entertaining than others?
Olenka’s habit of always loving somebody is the reason for her unhappiness. “She couldn’t get on without loving somebody…” (p. 2). Loving someone, caring about them, does that not bring us happiness? Olenka does not like being alone, she needs someone with her. Someone who she can give her love and listen to. If she is alone she has no one to love, she doesn’t realize that she has herself to love. And due to this she always ends up in a miserable state. Why does Olenka suffer? Is she to blame for her loss and sorrow? The story seems to follow a cycle of Olenka meeting, someone, falling in love with them (feeling content), then losing that person (feeling unhappy). Why did Chekhov choose to orient the story this way? Why did he make it so that Olenka could rarely find happiness and struggle to move past her situation of being alone? If Olenka realized that she had herself, that she should take care of herself is beginning to love others then maybe she would have been happier in life.
Olenka loves too easily. Olenka being called “Darling” was a simple way for people to tell Olenka they loved her.
“Looking at her rosy cheeks, at her soft white neck… the good naive smile… the lady visitors, in the middle of conversation, would suddenly grasp her hand and exclaim, ‘You darling!’ in a burst of delight” (p. 2).
When people would call her “darling” because of her kindness and “contentment” it would make her believe that she was being loved and that she could love these people too (p. 3). Is Olenka deserving of love? She seeks it throughout the entirety of the story and finds it multiple times. Even with finding it, she struggles to keep it. Her habit of not being able to live without loving someone is not good for her. It continuously leads to her sorrow. She would be better off accepting loss and understanding that it takes time to love someone.