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Symbols in The Cherry Orchard

Symbols Examples in The Cherry Orchard:

Act I

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"lorgnette..."   (Act I)

The noun “lorgnette” refers to a pair of glasses held in from of one’s eyes using a handle. The glasses were typically used at the opera, an upper class source of entertainment. Charlotta’s appearance gives the impression that she is wealthy enough to afford to go to the opera as a governess, signifying the emergence of the Russian middle class, who could afford to indulge in some upper class delights.

"This orchard is mentioned in the "Encyclopaedic Dictionary."..."   (Act I)

Gaev’s assertion of the orchard’s relevance reveals that the Ravenskys value the prestige of the orchard and its past greatness more than they ought to. Though it produces fruit, no one buys it, making the orchard more of a burden than a blessing. It would be more useful to the family if it were cut down, but the Ravensky siblings refuse to consider the possibility since that would be equivalent to erasing the family’s history and status that they treasure.

". For it's so clear that in order to begin to live in the present we must first redeem the past, and that can only be done by suffering, by strenuous, uninterrupted labour. ..."   (Act II)

Trofimov believes that Russia’s past is one of horror and deep shame. He sees the history of serfdom in the orchard and comments on how Russia has not yet decided how to deal with its past. Trofimov urges that Russia needs to accept and “redeem” the past in order to move towards the future. Trofimov perspective is one of the many different views towards Old Russia held by characters in the play.

"All Russia is our orchard. ..."   (Act II)

The line directly highlights how Chekov is using the cherry orchard as a microcosm of wider Russia. The orchard symbolizes how Russia itself is undergoing a dramatic shift - in ownership, and in societal values and attitudes.

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