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The Theme of Escape and Freedom in the Cherry Orchard

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Huy Dang

Instructor: Mrs. Amber Hobbs Dyer

English 2302 H2

November 9, 2015

The Theme of Escape and Freedom in The Cherry Orchard.

        The Cherry Orchard was written by Anton Chekhov during the time of Russian Revolution. It is a story about a Russian aristocracy family’s estate foreclosures which causes a tumultuous upheaval. The story deals with the theme of freedom and escape in many different ways. The old lady – Lyuba is the owner of the estate who has met tragedy many times in her life. She is the symbol of escape from tragedy. Otherwise, Lopakhin – son of peasants on Ranevksy’s estate is a symbol of freedom. He is the wealthiest character in the play, but comes from the lowest social class. He works hard with the demand of freedom to forget his past.

        The Cherry Orchard is a story that about the struggle over memory. Each characters has involved in different struggle of the past. For instance, the old lady Lyuba who is the owner of the estate has her tragedy over her adult life. The story begins with the flight of Lyuba from Parris to home. As soon as Lyuba got home, her first word on returning to the estate is “nursery”, even though, it has been unoccupied by children for long time “My dear nursery, oh, you beautiful room. . . . I used to sleep here when I was a baby. [Weeps] And here I am like a little girl again. [Kisses her brother, VARYA, then her brother again] And Varya is just as she used to be, just like a nun. (Cherry Orchard, Act One). It can be understood for her feeling. After a long time traveling, Lyuba finally comes back to her childhood home where she was raised. She kisses Dunyasha, who is the maid of the house “like a little girl again”. Lyuba can be seen as a sympathy person who has met a lot of tragedy during her life. She tries to escape from it and back to the childhood orchard where she can find peace. She wants to flee from the reality that she is in debt and has lost two loved ones.

The theme of escape is most recognized through the struggle over memory of each character. Lyuba wants to forget the present and stay with the beautiful childhood memories. However, the orchard contains the awful memories of his son. Another important character who also has struggle with memory is Lopakhin. He is a business man, and son of peasants on the orchard. For him, the orchard’s memories are brutally. He is self-conscious about his lack of education and refinement past. Therefore, he wants to escape from it. He wears fancy clothes as a business man. He wants to change and all the memories from the past to be forgotten. “She brought me over to the wash-stand here in this very room, the nursery as it was.’Don't cry, little peasant,' she said. “You'll soon be as right as rain." Little peasant. It's true my father was a peasant, but here am I in my white waistcoat and brown boots, barging in like a bull in a china shop. The only thing is, I am rich”. (Cherry Orchard, Act One) Lopakhin is now a wealthy business man who has higher social status. Therefore, he wants to forget his childhood time as the peasant and all the memories in the orchard.  

        Even though the orchard is where Lyuba was raised with innocence childhood memories, she does not want to save it. The orchard is where her son died which is the saddest thing to her. As soon as she sees Trofimov, her son tutor, she is reminded with the awful memory. She knows that no one can bring her family back and the orchard is just only a memory. She wants to escape from the memory of her son. She loves the orchard but it brings her sad memories that she does not want to save it. She wants escape from the memories by selling the orchard and move back to Parris to live the rest of her life. Lopakin is genuine when he offers to help Lyuba to save her estate. It can be understood that Lopakin want to buy the estate to release him from his brutal past. Lopakin chops the orchard down right when he gains control of it. He wants the orchard to be disappeared as the way for him to escape from past.

        The Cherry Orchard written during the time of early social and economy establishment. The most important event during this time was the emancipation of Serfdom which has influence on many Russian. The historical events constructed the theme of freedom and also changed the live and thoughts of characters. In the time of Russian Revolution, wealth was very important that even been a symbol for freedom.  Lyuba is an aristocrat woman who owns the orchard. However, she is unable to control her spend which make her become impoverished with the large of debt. She tries to get a freedom from the present debt and stay with her past. She also wants to escape the awful memories about her son. Lopakhin was a little peasant of the orchard. His memory about the orchard is a brutal time. He wants to forget his past and change his social status completely.

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