Book Review | Ward No. 6 by Anton Chekhov

Birth: January 29, 1860, Taganrog, Russia

Death: 15 July 1904, Badenweiler, Germany


Short Biography


Anton Chekhov, known as the Russian modern short story and theater master, is also known for his success and realism in the short story genre with fine details.


He successfully conveyed the inner world of the noble and intellectuals before the war and that desperate atmosphere to the reader. Even today, he continues to be the most read and most emphasized playwright.


Anton Chekhov was born on 29 January 1860 in the provincial city of Taganrog in the south of Russia as the middle child of a family with six children. Chekhov, whose father ran a grocery store, supported his family by working as an apprentice.


When this shop they operated in 1871 sunk, they sold their homes and left. The family, who settled in Moscow in 1879, sent Chekhov to the university. Continuing his education in the medical department of the university, Chekhov started sending short stories to magazines with the support of his siblings to contribute to his family's livelihood.


Chekhov, who could not find enough time to write because it took a big place in his doctor's life, started full-time writing. The general theme of the author, who did not have a fixed social or political view, was based on opposing injustice, hypocrisy and vulgarity. He often reflected such defects in his works.


In 1892, with the onset of the cholera epidemic known as the disease of the age, he became a doctor again. In 1894, he was infected with TB. He settled in the summer house on the island of Yalta, where he wrote "The Seagull".


Chekhov, who married "Olga Knipper" in 1901, started to be sincere with "Leo Tolstoy" and "Gorky". The writer, whose health condition deteriorated gradually, moved to Germany with the advice of doctors. When he was 44 years old, he died of tuberculosis here on July 15, 1904.

Book Review


Ward No. 6 has changed the way I see madness. This story predicts the major criticisms of clinical psychology and its tendency to pathologize normal behavior, confirming that Chekhov is one of those writers whose observations and critical judgments of his world spilled beyond the confines of his craft.


Another conclusion I have drawn from the story is that it is inevitable that the person who is different is not excluded and not seen far away. It is inherent in this human being that we can interpret it through the best minorities. Minorities are always affected by the difference in opinion between the majority and minorities, because their numbers are few, and thoughts in human nature are generally considered, which is what we call "majority" thought. In this story, Dr. Andrey Yefimitch is excluded because he thinks differently than the majority. The story reveals the limits of freedom of thought in the world.


Chekhov is the undisputed master of the short story after Stefan Zweig. Reading this book demonstrated how deeply his insight penetrates the human heart, how clearly he spots the beauty in the natural world that sometimes rescues us from periodic and overwhelming despair. Reading him doesn't just expose you to good stories; it helps you empathize with your fellow human beings.


He places his readers so deeply into his characters' perspectives that we experience their world as they see it, and in this way Chekhov allows his readers to indulge the greatest triumph fiction can offer: to live someone else's conscious experience. I urge you to read Ward No. 6


Quotes From The Book


“He belongs to the class of simple-hearted, practical, and dull-witted people, prompt in carrying out orders, who like discipline better than anything in the world, and so are convinced that it is their duty to beat people.” /Anton Chekhov
“People who have an official, professional relation to other men's sufferings - for instance, judges, police officers, doctors - in course of time, through habit, grow so callous that they cannot, even if they wish it, take any but a formal attitude to their clients; in this respect they are not different from the peasant who slaughters sheep and calves in the back-yard, and does not notice the blood.” /Anton Chekhov

“A doctrine which advocates indifference to wealth and to the comforts of life, and a contempt for suffering and death [the Stoics'] is quite unintelligible to the vast majority of men, since that majority has never known wealth or the comforts of life; and to despise suffering would mean to despise life itself, since the whole existence of man is made up of the sensations of hunger, cold, injury, loss, and a Hamlet-like dread of death.” /Anton Chekhov
“I reflected how many satisfied, happy people there really are! What a suffocating force it is! You look at life: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and brutishness of the weak, incredible poverty all about us, overcrowding, degeneration, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying... Yet all is calm and stillness in the houses and in the streets; of the fifty thousand living in a town, there s not one who would cry out, who would give vent to his indignation aloud. We see the people going to market for provisions, eating by day, sleeping by night, talking their silly nonsense, getting married, growing old, serenely escorting their dead to the cemetery; but we do not see and we do not hear those who suffer, and what is terrible in life goes on somewhere behind the scenes... Everything is so quiet and peaceful, and nothing protests but mute statistics: so many people gone out of their minds, so many gallons of vodka drunk, so many children dead from malnutrition... And this order of things s evidently necessary; evidently the happy man only feels at ease because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and without that silence happiness would be impossible.” /Anton Chekhov

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