Chekhov’s “The Party” as a Study in Non-FIML

“He was probably thinking, as he looked at her, of his farm, of solitude, and — who knows? — perhaps he was even thinking how snug and cosy life would be at the farm if his wife had been this girl – young, pure, fresh, not corrupted by higher education, not with child. . . .”

“Listening to her husband, Olga Mihalovna, for some reason, thought of her dowry. ‘And the time will come, I suppose,’ she thought, ‘when he will not forgive me for being richer than he.'”

“Saying this, Pyotr Dmitritch picked up his pillow and walked out of the bedroom. Olga Mihalovna had not foreseen this. For some minutes she remained silent with her mouth open, trembling all over and looking at the door by which her husband had gone out, and trying to understand what it meant. Was this one of the devices to which deceitful people have recourse when they are in the wrong, or was it a deliberate insult aimed at her pride? How was she to take it?”

This short story by Anton Chekhov (linked below) seems almost tailor-made for a FIML analysis. We can watch Olga’s neurotic interpretations as they arise, and it is tantalizing to imagine what kind of stew is brewing in Pyotr’s mind. Readers with any grasp on the basics of FIML practice will likely feel a sense of frustration as they watch these two characters flail through the evening with no effective way to check their interpretations.

The Party

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