Bad Weather by Anton Chekhov
In Bad Weather by Anton Chekhov we have the theme of restlessness, love, trust, adultery and loyalty. Taken from his The Collected Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Chekhov may be exploring that theme of restlessness. There is no need for Kvashin to spend find days of the week in town yet he decides to do it. Leaving the reader to be suspicious of his motives. Motives that become clear when Kvashin is not found at this lodgings by Nadyezhada. Even the porter does not know where Kvashin has spent his time. Something that is unusual as the porter would usually be aware of Kvashin’s whereabouts. The bad weather in the town also leads to the restlessness that all three characters feel. Kvashin wishing to be at least in another place. A place where he is not under the scrutiny of his wife and mother-in-law. Of all the characters mentioned in the story Kvashin is the most restless and as such may have the most to hide, a lover perhaps.
A lover that he must see as often as possible and the bad weather is an ideal time for such a liaison. Also he raises no suspicions with either his wife or mother-in-law. It is as though he is completely trusted. The fact that the lady Kvashin is meeting is not mentioned is interesting as she could be anyone. There is no hint given but Kvashin must be deeply in love with her. To spend five days with her in the town and to try and keep the liaison secret. If anything the lady must have a great pull on Kvashin. Who feigns a story that he is in the Traven closing a business deal. Not the ideal place for a respectable lawyer to be but again no suspicions are realised by anyone. Leaving the reader to wonder how long Kvashin has cheated on his wife.
There may also be some symbolism in the story which may be important. The game of patience that both Kvashin’s wife and mother-in-law play can be seen to be similar to the patience they have when it comes to Kvashin’s absence from the family home. The porter is a servant to Kvashin and it would be expected for him to lie to Kvashin’s wife but more importantly Chekhov may be suggesting that men cannot be trusted particular when it comes to holding secrets for other men. Both women in the story live boring lives and are shocked to the core that Kvashin may be committing adultery. If anything they are naïve to assume that Kvashin is working so long and alone in the town. He makes no small talk with his wife or mother-in-law and seems to be preoccupied with going to town. Where he may feel he can live his life to the fullest and with another woman.
Though briefly mentioned the servant plays an important role in the story. It is on his word that Nadyezhada doesn’t push him as to where Kvashin might be and there is little doubt that the servant may tell her. His allegiance fixed firmly on his master. He is sure to know that Kvashin has a female admirer who may have very well turned up in the office to see Kvashin. While the porter was there. It is as though the porter knows his place in society and is just prepared to tell Nadyezhada he has not seen Kvashin for five days and leave it at that. He knows his position and is not his master’s keeper. Nadyezhada has to live with the suspicion that her husband is having an affair but at the same time she cannot prove it. She is sure to believe what he tells her and life will continue as it always has been with Kvashin who will continue to spend more time away from home. Believing he is able to maintain two women. One of which he is married to and one that he loves. Only time will tell if this is true or if the truth will come out as it enviably does.