Snowstorm text in A. P. Chekhov's prose: poetics and functions

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The paper regards the phenomenon of the so-called snowstorm text in Chekhov's prose. A snowstorm text is based on the archetypical meanings of chaos. The range of snowstorm valency is undoubtedly wide: snowstorm as one of the major archetypical concepts in Russian literature is related to the concepts of doom, choice, miracle, etc. The remarkable potential of snowstorm texts is manifested in Yuletide-themed plots. A representative number of Chekhov's texts has been studied to prove their functional and semantic significance in his creative work: "The Witch," "On the Road" (both written in 1886), "The Thieves" (1890), "The Murder" (1895) and "On Official Business" (1899). In the first short story, a snowstorm is connected with the anthropological features of the main character. The deacon's wife seems to possess incredible feminine attractiveness, and winter snowstorm gives her a chance to lure her guests. In the short story "On the Road," snowstorm follows Christmas Eve, and some kind of miracle happens when the female protagonist comprehends the outlook of another character named Licharev. The short story "Thieves" reveals a certain social complex in the main hero's inner world. Snowstorm constructs the circumstance context in the narrative. If the snowstorm had never happened, nothing would have mattered to Ergunov, and he would have never known his real social (asocial in his case) role. "The Murder" and "On Business" represent the character's turn to religious belief ("The Murder") or need for social responsibility. Summing up, a snowstorm text induces existential doubts and other basic emotions in characters. It helps them to understand the deepest meanings of life.
Translated title of the contribution«Метельный» текст в прозе А.П. Чехова: поэтика и функции
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalSibirskii Filologicheskii Zhurnal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Chaos
  • Functions
  • Order
  • Snowstorm text
  • Symbolic image



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