Watching Battleship Potemkin

On this past Wednesday night, I went and watched the Russian film “Battleship Potemkin”. To be quite honest, I had no idea what to expect- I’ve never watched many black and white films, let alone silent films about Russian history. However, as my first true experience with silent films, I was extremely intrigued and enjoyed the experience.

The film “Battleship Potemkin” describes a sensationalized account of the mutiny that happened in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime, as well as the subsequent protests and massacre.… Read the rest here

Civil Society in Russia

So I am currently figuring out my plans next year for my study abroad experience. I’ll be in Moscow for both semesters, so I have time for a more long term project and I want to take full advantage of that opportunity. I plan on studying the recent rise of apolitical not-for-profit and volunteer organizations in Moscow. Russia has historically lacked a civil society, both during the Tsarist rule and the Soviet Union. This is why the current growth of volunteer work is so impressive, as it marks a shift of attitudes.… Read the rest here

Empire and Nicholas II

I began reading the Riasanovsky textbook this week about the conditions in Russia leading up to the Revolution of 1905.  Some things immediately jumped out at me in the section describing Nicholas II ad his nature as a ruler.  On page 390, he is described as having admirable personal qualities such as modesty and self-discipline.  However, the author then states that his qualities failed him in situations requiring strength and adaptability.  This reminded me of a discussion in my Islamic Empires class from last week.  … Read the rest here

Anna Karenina

This past weekend I went with several of my friends to see the most recent film adaptation of Anna Karenina at the Carlisle Theatre. I was very glad that the movie was playing there, because due to the limited release, I had missed the run of it at my local theater when I was home for break.  Despite the fact that other movie theaters may have digital projectors, or other fancy things, I really like that the Carlisle Theatre does not, especially when watching period films.… Read the rest here

As I read through Cherry Orchard I noticed an interesting relationship developing between the characters. I think that many of the behaviors that the characters exhibit the aristocratic decline that was occurring while Chekhov was writing.

In most interactions between aristocrats and their servants, you would expect there to be a sense of supremacy among the elite. However, the servants, such as Dunyasha, seem to have a certain amount of status in the household. One such example of this would be the informality that Dunyasha shows when she greets Anya upon her arrival in the first scene.… Read the rest here

The Significance of Wooden Objects in “The Cherry Orchard”

In addition to the significance of the cherry orchard, there is also meaning in the use of wooden objects throughout the play.

The nobles are able to use wooden objects to their advantage and comfort. This comfort is not only physical comfort, as when Firs places a footstool for Madame Ranevsky, but also psychological comfort.  This is seen when Madame Ranevsky adresses a cupboard and table with affection, while caressing them. Gayef later speaks about the significance of the hundred-year-old cupboard, directly addressing it while lavishing it with praises.… Read the rest here

Symbolism in The Cherry Orchard

Theatre is not merely for the enjoyment of an audience. Rather, theatre can be used as a political statement, a way to unite social classes, or even as medium to retell a historical event. The play The Cherry Orchard, written by Anton Chekhov, is no exception to this statement.The play, through its presentation of the inability of the aristocratic class in maintaining their power and stature, is used to demonstrate and explain the tumultuous and class driven struggle that defined and plagued the Russian Empire for many years, particularly in the beginning of the twentieth century.… Read the rest here

“The Cherry Orchard” and changing social order

In his work “The Cherry Orchard”, Anton Chekhov illustrates a population divided by a desire to cling to the Tsar’s final vestiges of power and a desire to see social orders reformed to accommodate the emergence of a new middle class.

The Liberation and the decline of the Tsar’s power in Russia allowed for the reordering of social power and structures. As Lophakin explains, “until a little while ago there had been nothing but gentry and peasants in the village, now villa residents have made their appearance.” These “villa residents” represent the new middle class – peasants who were no longer bound to their masters or who – like Lophakin – have become landowners and secured their own autonomy.… Read the rest here

The Cherry Orchard

The cherry orchard itself plays a fascinating role in Chekhov’s work. Early on in the play, Madame Ravenskey makes a particularly revealing comment. She states, “If there is one thing that’s interesting, remarkable in fact, in the whole province, it’s our cherry orchard.” Lopakhin responds by saying, “There’s nothing remarkable about the orchard except that it’s a very big one. It only bears once every two years, and then you don’t know what to do with the fruit.… Read the rest here

Symbolism in The Cherry Orchard

The nobles in The Cherry Orchard are Anya, Madame Ranevsky, Barbara, Gayef, and Pishticik.  The nobility of the play has fallen drastically, the two families out of money but trying to cling on to a previous way of life in the wake of change.  Anya and Barbara are the two nobles that seem to recognize and accept the new order.  Anya is fascinated by the ideas of Peter and Barbara acknowledges her affection for Lopkhin despite his family history.… Read the rest here