Chekhov, In the Ravine (1900)
I. The Village of Ukleevo and the Tsybukin family:
· The Family:
o Grigory Petrovitch Tsybukin, the patriarch and owner of the shop;
o his eldest son Anisim, a policeman in another town;
o Stepan, the deaf, sickly youngest, married to
o Aksinya, the vivacious young woman with a nose for business;
o later, Tsybukin marries Varvara, whose generosity brightens the home;
o and eventually Lipa is the peasant girl who marries Anisim
· How do the Tsybukins make their living?
· What are Tsybukin’s attitudes towards the other townsfolk?
· The other bourgeois family in town are the Hrymins who own the two cotton factories. (They have a telephone too!) They like to compete with Tsybukin by racing droshkies around town, running over calves if they wander into the street.
II. Anisim’s Betrothal
· Anisim, the eldest returns home to visit, and the family decides that since he is now 28, it is time for him to get married.
· The family chooses Lipa, a beautiful, young peasant woman from a neighboring village to be his bride. (Aksinya had come from a poor family as well.) Lipan and her mother, Praskovya, come to live with the Tsybukins.
III. The Wedding
· The Tsybukin prepare for the wedding reception by ordering new clothes (which they pay for with overstocked inventory, not cash).
· Anisim arrives and distributes coins to the family as wedding gifts.
· Anisim brags about his friendship with Samorodov, his fellow policeman (and counterfeiter.)
· The day of the wedding arrives and the reception has been stocked in a way which will display the wealth of the Tsybukins.
· At the church, Lipa is overwhelmed by all the people and the strange clothes she must wear.
· At the reception, Elizarov the old carpenter (aka ‘Crutch’) gets drunk and happily describes the new bride as a fine mechanism, put together nicely.
· Lipa sits alone, still dazzled and is ignored by her new husband.
· The Hrymin Juniors arrive and get everyone, including Tsybukin, to do Russian kick dances.
· Aksinya looks like a viper as it becomes clear that she and one of the Hrymin Juniors have something going.
· Anisim catches a thief and imprisons him in the bedroom where Lipa is changing.
IV. Anisim’s Plan
· Anisim’s ‘crisis of faith’
· He explains that he and Samorodov are planning a deal that will make or break him.
· His leave taking with Lipa is abrupt and awkward.
· Lipa is relieved and brightens considerably after Anisim is gone.
V. The View from the Ridge
· Returning from a village religious festival, Lipa tells Crutch about living with the Tsybukin family. The food is plentiful, but she is always uneasy among them.
· Rumors have it the the Hrymin brothers are vying for Aksinya’s affecton. One has promised to build her a brickyard.
· Praskovya relishes a pear for the first time in her life.
· Father discovers that the coins that Anisim handed out as wedding gifts were counterfeit.
· In the barn in the moonlight, Aksinya cannot sleep.
· Lipa thinks that the moonlight is so beautiful that truth and justice must someday be realized on earth.
VI. Lipa’s Baby
· Anisim has been imprisoned, awaiting trial, for counterfeiting.
· Tsybukin is now aging rapidly.
· Aksinya now openly is working with the Hrymins at the new brickyard, and Lip spends her days caring for her new baby boy, Nikifor.
· News arrives that, despite his father’s bribes, Anisim has been sentenced to six years in Siberia.
· Varvara convinces Tsybukin to plan for his grandson’s support, and Tsybukin makes the infant the heir of the brickyard.
VII. The Catastrophe
· When Aksinya discovers that the brickyard has been willed to the baby Nikifor, she flies into a rage, and she runs into the kitchen where Lipa is doing the laundry and tosses scalding water on the infant.
VIII. Return from the Hospital
· Lipa walks home from the hospital with her dead infant in her arms. She stops at a pond and looks out at the night.
· When she gets home, Varvara and Tsybukin blame Lipa for not taking better care of her babe. Aksinya demands that she leave the house the next morning.
· Aksinya consolidates her control of the family businesses.
· Lipa has survived: final view.