The Encased Man
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) wrote of the Russian period of depression and pessimism and is the acknowledged leader of the realistic school of the Russian short story. He has been compared to Guy de Maupassant for the masterful way in which he creates an atmosphere and narrates his stories to a climax. No other writer has the same ability to reveal the characters' souls in just two or three pages. Central themes in his works re mediocrity, the tragedy of pettiness, commonplaceness, the meaninglessness and emptiness of everyday life. In "The Encased Man" he describes the life of a schoolmaster whose existence is limited by petty rules, morals, inhibitions and unconscious fears. Despite these traits, the man finds himself on the verge of an unforeseen marriage to a boisterous, energetic, positive woman - in short, his complete opposite. But his character traits rear their heads and destiny rushes in upon him.