Main Character Analysis
Ivan Ivanovitch- Ivan is the main character in this short story. He is a veterinary surgeon and friends with Burkin and Alehin. His brother is Nikolay. Ivan is storyteller when they are at Alehin's house. "Ivan Ivanovitch went outside, plunged into the water with a loud splash, and swam in the rain, flinging his arms out wide" (Gooseberries). This illustrates that Ivan is a free spirit and enjoys life.
Burkin- Burkin is a high school teacher and friends with Ivan. He is a very attentive listener and enjoys Ivan's stories. However, he is skeptical and dislikes the story of Nikolay, Ivan's brother, because he is unconvinced that Nikolay's life is the correct way to live. He's not as adventurous as Ivan, and he's almost timid. "'That's enough!' Burkin shouted to him [to get out of the pond]" (Gooseberries).
Alehin- Alehin is a kind soul and is willing to share his house with Burkin and Ivan. He seems grateful for their company. He has a beautiful maid working for him, Pelagea. He also doesn't wash that much and is embarrassed by it. Finally, he is self conscious that people don't like him, and that they won't include him in things. "He was afraid his visitors might tell some interesting story after he had gone, and he lingered on" (Gooseberries).
The gooseberries symbolize the dreams of someone. This story, like many of Chekhov's, are cliched, and once Nikolay got the gooseberries, he became a lesser person.
The rain represents opportunity. If it hadn't of rained, they never would've gone to Alehin's house. Then Ivan told his story about how Nikolay's life had turned out. Then, Ivan saw the opportunity to tell Alehin, the youngest of the three, to live his life and not take anything for granted.
Ivan, very bluntly, discusses the issue of society. Getting what one wants isn't necessarily the key to happiness or the meaning of life. He is upfront and doesn't really sugarcoat it.
Exposition- Ivan and Burkin are walking and it starts to rain. They look for shelter and go to Alehin's house. The three of them wash off, and Ivan and Burkin decide to stay the night.
Rising Action- Burkin mentions the story that Ivan was going to tell him earlier. Ivan settles, Pelagea brings them food, and he begins their story.
Climax- Ivan tells the story of how his brother was unhappy in his government job, so he married a rich widow and saved up. His dream was to buy an estate and plant gooseberries. Finally, he achieved it and Ivan visited him.
Falling Action- Ivan continues to tell them that although his brother got what he wanted, he had become a lesser person. Burkin and Alehin are not satisfied with this resolution because Ivan just keeps chanting "If I were young" (Gooseberries), for absolutely no reason. Then he tells Alehin to live his life while he's young.
Resolution- Still unsatisfied, Burkin goes to bed. Ivan and Alehin decide to do the same. The story ends with Burkin unable to sleep and the rain continuing on.
Based on the character's names and prior knowledge of the author, one can assume the play takes place in Russia. As well as this, a village, Mironositskoe, is mentioned, which is in Russia. However, there is absolutely no indication of the time period. No dates, events, or hints are given. With that said, one can assume it is set in the time period of the author then, so that would be late 1800's or early 1900's. As stated on the previous page, Russia was in a corrupted monarchy with Nicolas II as king, there were high taxes, and poor living/working conditions.