Poor Toby

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"Luka, tell them in the stable not to give Toby any oats today" (Roberts 392).

            So then, is that what it takes to get over the death of a spouse, a new lover? Hmm... I guess it makes sense if the deceased spouse was loyal and good, but not if the spouse was hurtful. I understand it being difficult to get over the death of a spouse regardless of how they treated you, but proclaiming to never fall in love again is ridiculous. Well let me clarify something. I think it is understandable for someone who lost a loving spouse to claim commitment to the deceased for the rest of his/her life and I also think it is perfectly understandable to fall in love again. However, I think it is ridiculous for someone to proclaim commitment to a deceased loved one who cheated on you! Did this play anger anyone else? First of all, I hate the deceased spouse for being so disloyal, and I hate Smirnov for being such an obnoxious hothead. Could these characters be any more annoying? Ugh I could hear the voices rising in my head as Smirnov and Mrs. Popov argued and all I wanted to do was scream SHUT UP!!!

            Okay, now for what I did like about the play. I was cringing up until the part where Smirnov and Mrs. Popov challenge each other to a duel. Once Mrs. Popov goes "gun happy" and Smirnov falls in love with her, the play actually gets funny. Finally, we no longer have to hear Smirnov vent uncontrollably, but instead laugh at his weakness for having fallen love. I probably laughed the hardest when Smirnov says "Shoot! You could never understand what happiness it would be to die under the gaze of those wonderful eyes" (Roberts 391).  

            Despite my hating Smirnov in the beginning, I am glad he found love at the end of the play. I am also glad Mrs. Popov finally stood up for herself by challenging Smirnov to a gun fight. My only regret is that poor Toby will not get his oats now. Hopefully, Mrs. Popov won't be hateful of everything that reminds her of her deceased husband.


Jessica Orlowski said:

Hhaha :) I agree with you, Brooke. I was extremely annoyed by their raving and ranting. This section went on for a little too long. I saw it coming, though.

I think that the reason she fell in love with Smirnov (it's kind of what I thought happened) is because she reminded him nothing of her husband. Her husband basically treated her sweetly minus the cheating. Even though Smirnov was annoying and a hothead, he treated her as an equal-ish.

I mention you in my blog (mine is basically on the same thing:

Hahahaha, I love your last paragraph haha. But I totally agree with you. I wasn't too sure about Smirnov at first, but I too, was glad her found love at the end and was extremely proud of Popov for sticking up for herself (thats the feminist in me) haha. But yeah, totally agree with ya.

Kayla Lesko said:

Well, I think the play shows just how random love is. First people hate each other and then *poof* they're in love.

Brooke Kuehn said:

Jess thanks for mentioning me in your blog although i think your's is a much better close reading than my ranting lol... I see what you mean about Smirnov being much different than her husband. However, i think Smirnov is not so good either. Maybe Popov fell for Smirnov because he was just slightly better than her deceased husband. I mean he seems obnoxious but at least he adores her. She was treated badly by her late husband and now it seems as though she will fall for anyone who is slightly nicer to her because she doesnt realize how nice some people can be. She seems to think she should grab on to anyone who is better than what she had in case someone better never comes along again. Maybe thats why the divorce rate is so high in America.

Shellie, I was also really glad she stood up for herself, but very dissapointed in her for still falling for him. Ick. I really couldnt stand Smirnov. What an obnoxous character!

Brooke Kuehn said:

Kayla, maybe its not just plays but also movies too. Unless a long passing of time is shown in some way, it always seems as though the characters fall in love very quickly. I guess this is because of the time limit of movies and plays.

Jessica Orlowski said:

Yes... it's always better, to some people, to be safe rather than wait for the perfect person. While we all can't fall into the "Disney Princess Syndrome," we can't be so unspecific!

Anyway, that was my rant. Maybe this was Mrs. Popov's problem in the first place. Maybe she just picked any old man the first time, and she hasn't set her standards very high.

By the way, that's an interesting point about the Divorce rates in America. Personally, I have a whole other theory about that. I won't go into it too much, but basically I believe that because women like Popov became independent (as is shown in her fiery nature near the end of the play), the family structure deteriorated. Women and men weren't holding up their end of the bargain.

Brooke Kuehn said:

Intereting point jess. it's like the more women became independent the more out of balance relationships became. I see what you're saying, although im not so sure what i beleive yet. I think there are so many factors that can cause a divorce, its hard to pin it on just one, but i definitly see how this could be one of them. Although, i would rather the divorce rates be high and women be independent then the other way around. Im no feminist but i preach equality!

Jessica Orlowski said:

I agree, Brooke. I believe that equality is important, especially in the modern (or postmodern, rather) age. However, there's a fine, fine line between oppression and willing subservience. (The entire difference lies in the willingness). I still think that women deserve equality, but in order to hold the family structure together, a woman must do what she does best and nurture.

Josie Rush said:

Mm, I'm not going to to into my equality rant, but I will say that Diana thought of a very interesting way of looking at this play in her paper, and I agree with her. It seems there's a bit of a role reversal, from what had come to be expected. Mrs. Popov may hold on to her manners longer than Smirnov, but she stays in her rage longer than him as well. Instead of the man holding the power in this scene, one way to look at it is that the woman was the authoritative. Of course, Smirnov was influencing Mrs. Popov's decisions at the end, when she was alternatively ordering him to stay and go, but she was still the one calling the shots. She is also slower to get swept into the romantic feeling going around. Smirnov falls in love as soon as Mrs. Popov accepts his challenge, but Mrs. Popov stays focused on her goal...killing Smirnov.

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Josie Rush on Poor Toby: Mm, I'm not going to to into m
Jessica Orlowski on Poor Toby: I agree, Brooke. I believe tha
Brooke Kuehn on Poor Toby: Intereting point jess. it's li
Jessica Orlowski on Poor Toby: Yes... it's always better, to
Brooke Kuehn on Poor Toby: Kayla, maybe its not just play
Brooke Kuehn on Poor Toby: Jess thanks for mentioning me
Kayla Lesko on Poor Toby: Well, I think the play shows j
Shellie Polly on Poor Toby: Hahahaha, I love your last par
Jessica Orlowski on Poor Toby: Hhaha :) I agree with you, Bro