The Bear OL English Literature Analysis/Criticism
Anton Chekhov’s play was performed in 1888!
There are few details of significance that you absolutely NEED to know!
Abolition of serfdom – 1861
Russia had a system known as the Feudal system. Peasants, known as serfs, would work for the land owning noblemen. They had to pay an unfair proportion of their harvest to the landowner as rent. This meant that they will be stuck in their economic position of dependency and poverty till they die. Their progeny (sons and daughters) will have to face the same fate. However, after serfdom was abolished, peasants were able to work hard and move up the social ladder. They had more opportunity to gain wealth and make their lives better. READ MORE HERE.
What does this mean to Smirnov and Popova? Both of them are landowning aristocrats. After serfdom was abolished, they lost their privilege as landowners and were unable to produce a large profit just because they had land. With the loss of such privileges, their wealth started to decline. READ MORE HERE.
Even though their wealth deteriorated, they were too attached to their luxurious lifestyles. And they wanted to maintain their pride as aristocrats – therefore, they tried to maintain their appearances. This is why we see Popova and Smirnov continue to engage in lifestyles that are expensive – beyond their ability.
Emancipation of women – late 1800’s
The emancipation (meaning freedom) of women was a major incident in Russia in the late 1800’s. Women were given more access to formal education – the number of Russian women who gained access to university education in these years increased rapidly. Access to education opened up new opportunities for women – this meant new jobs and careers.
Before the emancipation and the access to education,
Expectations of women