Nostalgia in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
Actually, the play concerns an aristocratic Russian woman and her family as they return to their family estate which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. While offered options to save the estate, the family does nothing and the play ends with the selling of the orchard and thus the ending of all their past memories. The characters of The Cherry Orchard are sick with nostalgia. Madame Rankness is obviously the main character; she is really In charge of her family, and her Inability to move on with the present Is so striking.
To her, everything Is In the past – even the present. She can’t forget the days of her childhood or the disasters SIX years previous. Even when she Is forced to face reality – that the orchard has been sold – It seems Like an event In the past. In fact, Madame Rankness sees the past, present, and future as the past only. A wonderful example of Madame Rankness’s nostalgic emotions is: “One last look… Our dear mother used to walk up and down this room. ” Madame Rankness is a passionate woman and is quite nostalgic. She
Rankness reveals how her emotional attachment to the estate is important to her family history: “Don’t you see? I was born here, my father and mother lived here, and my grandfather; I love this house” (32). Having this deep connection to her estate often arouses memories of her childhood. The cherry orchard has always been part of this safe haven for Rankness; she holds It so dear to her heart that the thought of ever living without It absolutely devastates her. After hearing the fate of her cherry orchard, she laments: “Without the cherry orchard, my fife has no meaning for me and if it must be sold, then for heaven’s sake sell me tool” (32).
She is later so overwhelmed about Lollipop’s plans to cut down the orchard that she falls to the ground and weeps bitterly. Throughout the book, most characters reveal a part of their lives by telling the story of their childhood, an event that they went through which influenced the rest of their lives, the people they met… Etc. All these personal revelations bring memories in the center of the play. Some characters are really attached to everything that represents their past and brings up memory.
For example, In the first act, when Gave sees the bookcase, he is over- excited and Joyful to have found a connection with his memories. He was extremely touched and talked on the verge of tears: “most esteemed bookcase”; “l salute your existence”. Agaves reaction Is exaggerated and childish, so It shows that he gives an extremely great value to things concerning his past. The family a reality check by telling them, muff can’t ever go back to the past. ” Although each character would like to go back to the past in his own way, none seems o want to do more than Arrangers.
Gave, her brother, desires the same thing. He is in love with the memories and the nostalgia that this mansion brings. He was raised here and he seems to have no desire to leave this house. The various servants that still live with the Arrangers family are also saddened about losing their home, especially Firs, who has gone a bit crazy in his old age. He actually misses the past, where he was a serf for the family. Any and Vary would like to return to the past probably to be able to save their brother and to help their mother be happy.
Vary might try to find herself a different suitor, other than Allophonic, who Just plays around with the idea. Any interestingly, is the only member of the Arrangers family who is eager to face the future. She is eager to go with Trollop whom she loves. The consistent theme of memory in terms of both forgetting and remembering are evident throughout the play. The quote at the end of the play where Firs is forgotten and the cherry orchard is cut down is an important symbol indicating that the past is dying away and the characters are moving on.
Firs ends the play and he represents the past in both historical and personal terms in relation to Madame Rankness. The great cherry orchard is a symbol of the past, a past that carries different emotions for the various characters. However, each character is tied to the cherry orchard, and its representation of the past, either directly or indirectly and this is the string that they must cut and break free from. To conclude, one can say that The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov is very much a play about the past.
However, it is more specifically about breaking free from the past wrought change and acceptance. Till the end of the play and though the orchard is already sold, Rankness’s strong sentiments towards her beloved cherry orchard will likely never fade because it is not only part of her memories and past, it is part of her upbringing; it is part of her character, heart, and soul. Indeed, the theme of nostalgia is clearly presented by Chekhov as most of his characters refuse to realize that life goes on; they are eager to stay in the comfort of an idyllic past in order to forget their sufferings at the present.