"You abuse me for objectivity, calling it indifference to good and evil, lack of ideals and ideas, and so on. You would have me, when I describe horse-thieves, say: "Stealing horses is an evil." But that has been known for ages without my saying so. Let the jury judge them; it's my job simply to show what sort of people they are. I write: You are dealing with horse-thieves, so let me tell you that they are not beggars but well-fed people, that they are people of a special cult, and that horse-stealing is not simply theft but a passion. Of course it would be pleasant to combine art with a sermon, but for me personally it is extremely difficult and almost impossible, owing to the condition of the technique. You see, to depict horse-thieves in seven hundred lines I must all the time speak and think in their tone and feel in their spirit, otherwise, if I introduce subjectivity, the image becomes blurred and the story will not be as compact as all short stories ought to be. When I write, I reckon entirely upon the reader to add for himself the subjective elements that are lacking in the story."
From a letter to Alekseys S. Suvorin in Letters on the Short Story, the Drama, and Other Literary Topics by Anton Chekhov
After reading the excerpt above, please respond to the following prompt:
Why does Chekhov reject sermonizing in his fiction? How does his "objectivity" affect your reading of "The Lady with the Little Dog"?
Part One Expectations (respond to the prompt above): 200-250 words, 2 quotes from the short story, minimal errors in grammar and usage, thoughtful and thorough writing. Please use the assigned "pen name" given to you in class
Part Two Expectations (read everyone's first responses, select two that interest you, and respond to their ideas): 100-150 words EACH, minimal errors in grammar and usage, thoughtful and thorough writing. Please use the assigned "pen name" given to you in class.
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