Chekhov -- Also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew?
Tomorrow is my presentation, and I admit, I'm a little nervous. Public speaking is the number one fear, even above dying, so I know I'm not alone. It may be strange that I'm worried about giving a presentation when I want to be a teacher, but teaching a lesson to kids and giving a presentation to my college peers are two very different types of public speaking.
I had a really difficult time attempting to locate a peer-reviewed article on Chekhov and The Bear. Actually, not a single person has written any literary criticism on the play in English (I'm not sure about Russian). With the librarians help, I did eventually find a great book of literary criticisms titled, A Chekhov Companion, Edited by Toby W. Clyman. I decided to discuss Martin Esslin's piece on "Chekhov and the Modern Drama. I'm going to explain Chekhov's contributions to modern drama. First, I'll explain the main elements of traditional drama, and then I'll discuss the original changes he made that have drastically changed modern theater (and as a result, radio, movies, television).
Next, I'll take a closer look at The Bear and focus on how Chekhov uses the lover's unappealing qualities to bring humor to the play through exaggeration and sarcasm, while making love their only redeeming quality. We'll examine Luka's humorous contributions, and then focus on Mrs. Papov and possible explanations why her mourning doesn't seem sincere. We'll examine her relationship with her past husband, and why she has decided to mourn in such an extreme manner. I'll finally finish off the discussion with a look into Smirnov's character.
In order to put together my presentation I started by reading the play, researching a bit of his biography, and then consulting on-line data bases for articles. Next, I headed to the library. There I discovered that Chekhov is also spelled Tchekhov. Who knew? I examined my article options, and then I did a close reading. I wrote down everything I found interesting when I was close reading and when I read several essays in A Chekhov Companion. I eliminated excess information that wasn't relevant, and then I typed my notes for my presentation. Tomorrow, I will take one final look at my classmate's blog entries for additional question ideas, although I'm afraid I need to cut my presentation as it stands. Tomorrow I'll practice with a stop watch and then I'll continue to trim it down.