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Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892-1895 (Penguin Classics) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Ronald Wilks has translated many Russian works including, for Penguin, those of Gorky, Sologub, Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Chekhov.
J. Douglas Clayton is Professor of Russian at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of 'Pierrot in Petrograd' about the Commedia dell'arte and the Russian tradition. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- Publication Date : May 30, 2002
- File Size : 3492 KB
- Print Length : 372 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Penguin; New Ed Edition (May 30, 2002)
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- ASIN : B002RI97OI
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #578,064 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In Part I of the story we learned a short background of everyone that was in the ward. For example, “a man who grieves all the time, staring and crying”, that is about all we will ever know about this character. In Part II the main focus is on the character Gromov. He is the sanest of them all. We learn that he had a hard childhood, which then lead into a hard life. He was very well educated and loved to read. So far an outside storyteller who was giving us some basic information that we need to understand the story told these two parts. In part III of the story, that unknown storyteller is gone and Chekhov himself is now the narrator. Chekhov was a doctor in real life and you could see some of his expertise come into the storyline. We learn more about Gromov and how he feels terror and torment all of the time. He feels that the world is against him and that there is no way to stop it. Ivan was taken care of by a doctor even though the doctor does not believe that he needs any help at all. At the end of this part Ivan is forgotten by the people he had known for his whole life. In part IV we get a very descriptive explanation of what the inside of Ward No 6 looks and smells like. Just from the readers point of view it sounds like a horrific place to be. In part V we learn more about the doctor himself. He comes to the asylum and notices how filthy and depressing the environment is. He went along with being the best doctor that he could be, but eventually got tired of doing his daily routine when nothing else at the insane asylum was changing. In part VI Doctor does a lot of thinking about life and the different aspects that are beyond his control. He reads a lot of different philosophy books and talked to a friend about different philosophies.
In Part VII the doctors thoughts become a little more in depth and become almost unclear. It is more of a detailed thought rather then an actual part of the story. Part VIII there is a new younger doctor that is introduced that would love to take the job of Andrei. Part IX is when Andrei starts to actually talk to Gromov and they have a very intellectual conversation about freedom. Part X Gromov and Andrei continue on to have another conversation. XI there is more conversations, they are almost becoming regular. XII: the outside community starts to see the doctor as becoming insane himself from all of the time that he is spending with Gromov. XIII Dr. Andrei and his friend that was mentioned earlier get back together and talk again. XIV: Mikhail borrows money from Dr. Andrei for a debt that he needed to pay off. XV: Andrei decided that he was angry with himself about giving away money that he could have used for something else. He keeps himself relaxed by doing everyday chores. XVI: Dr. Andrei becomes a very angry person and that makes the young doctor (Dr. Khobotov) and Mikhail believe that he truly is becoming crazy. Dr. Andrei defended himself saying that he is not ill. XVII: Dr. Andrei becomes the 6th member of the ward. He doesn’t understand how people could be put in there to stay for the rest of their lives. Finally, Part XVIII, I will not reveal what happens here but the ending is pretty unfortunate from my point of view
I would definitely recommend this short story to other readers. It is not Anton Chekhovs longest story by any means but it keeps your attention throughout. I think that it gives you a great inside view on how all people that are deemed crazy may not actually be crazy. Some people may have their own views and philosophies on life but that does not mean that they should be locked away for that. Dr. Andrei got put away because of the views and knowledge that he had gained from conversing with a “crazy man”. I think that the meaning of their relationship was portrayed very well throughout the story.
Ward 6, a story about a hospital and its patients--think One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest--it's a tragic tale that might have been more fact than fiction.
Gooseberries--a man whose eccentric dream was a homestead with gooseberries in the garden.
The Kiss--a soldier is haunted by a woman's anonymous kiss. He wants to find her so badly. This story really grabbed me because it's a metaphor for all our lost loves that we wish we had a second chance at. That's my take on it.
The Lady With The Dog--a romantic tale with lots of passion. This one will get your heart beating.
Whatever story you read you should find the writing exceptional. The detail, the mood, the scene. It raises the bar, without intending to, for what great writing should be.
Top reviews from other countries
There is a sweet despair in Chekhov's stories. You root for the protagonist, the hero of the story. Only to find out that they are no heroes, but like us, they struggle with the conditions they are in and with the complexity of the inner emotions. This coming together of the two - the conditions and the inner self - leads to stirring but powerful stories. Chekhov analysis the core of human society with the help of brilliantly crafted characters.
In "Ward No. 6", the eponymous short story, he even uses his own medical background for Yefemich(1), making the doctor more real than fiction. We see the descent of a man, whose ideas gain depth but lose clarity. We are privy to the conversations between him and Gromov(2). While horrible conditions of the asylum are laid bare, the doctor, who at the beginning abhors the asylum, still visits it frequently, which leads to self-doubt as the spiral downwards continues. Now I don't want to reveal too much. However, you should be prepared for a tragic end.
It is a beautiful story. Do have a read.
(1) The asylum doctor. The asylum is this story's backdrop.
(2) The sanest patient in the asylum, the doctor like talking to him. A lot.
Ward No.6 （病棟6号）
The Two Volodyas
前作に収められた作品に比べると読みやすさという意味ではだいぶ劣る印象を受ける。この短編を大きく区分してみると、女性を主人公としたもの（キリギリス、アリアドーネ、女性の王国、The Two Volodyas, 三年）とそれ以外とに分けられるのですが、概して女性を中心としたものが読みにくい。これらに登場する女性たちは概して19世紀末を賑わしたfemale fataleの特徴を色濃く帯びており、それぞれにこれらの女性の抱えていた状況は異なるのですが、どれもストーリは平板なパターンに終始しているようです。男性の存在感の薄さはどれにも共通しているのだが、肝心の女性が魅力的に描けていないようだ。というよりこれらの女性が当時抱えていた煩悶にもはや共感する素地が僕たちにはないのかもしれない。