A Comparative Study of the Elements of Narrative Technique in the English Translation of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Chekhov's The Grasshopper

Jacqueline Carr-Phillips
2018 Athens Journal of Philology  
The aim of the paper is to examine the elements of narrative technique in Tolstoy's long story The Death of Ivan Ilyich, in the context of a comparative study of Anton Chekhov's short story The Grasshopper. I will be discussing the underlying narrative strategies that highlight the distinctive features of laconicism and restraint that Chekhov employs in his writing to allow for deeper configurations of meaning through the implicit dimension of language. In parallel to this I will explore the
more » ... will explore the effectiveness of Tolstoy's use of the explicit dimension of language to convey meaning, purpose and emotional impact as told directly with substantial descriptive passages. I will also attempt to identify implicit aspects of Tolstoy's narrative that are embedded in the explicit text, to uncover a deeper meaning to the direct "telling" of the surface story. The paper is not attempting to favour one style over the other in order to demonstrate the authors' effectiveness in conveying meaning and purpose through explicitness or implicitness. Rather, it is a study of the contrasting individuality of the two literary writing styles as seemingly opposite to each other in relation to the elements of narrative technique that are being used to shape the story. The intention is to demonstrate a parallel effectiveness in the two contrasting forms to convey the vision of the story through the shaping of the narrative. The context in which these particular writers are discussed is directly related to the technical concerns and compositional poetics that the writer employs for the creation of the story, whether it be a Chekhovian capturing of fleeting moments, sense impressions and minimalism or a more rounded Tolstoyan detailed, explicit depiction.
doi:10.30958/ajp.5-3-1 fatcat:vjx4rniv3fg7pltyzyrb53lj4q