Reading Chekhov’s ‘The Student’

Reading short stories, Chekhov’s in particular, one is generally compelled to participate in creating them, by filling in blanks, and of one’s own accord supplying the information which the narrator seems to take for granted. In this article, ‘The Student’ (1894), one of Chekhov’s best known stories, is explored in detail regarding its remarkable lack of information. Has the title figure, a student of theology, really been out shooting on a Good Friday? And what is the significance of the curious sound – as from an empty bottle – described in the opening paragraph? The answers to these and other questions prove decisive to the interpretation of the story as such.

Keywords: ‘Chekhov, Anton’, short stories, ‘The Student’, blanks, bittern