27 pages 54 minutes read

Anton Chekhov


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1898

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Literary Devices

Narrative Structure

“Gooseberries” follows a frame narrative structure in which Ivan Ivanich, the narrator, recounts a story within the story. This narrative technique adds depth and complexity, providing multiple perspectives and allowing for introspection and analysis of human desires and happiness.

More specifically, Ivan’s narrative reveals the distorted sense of happiness that Nicholai cherishes. The “hard and sour” gooseberries are “good” to Nicholai as he enjoys his hard-earned privilege (Paragraph 41). However, the credibility (or reliability) of Ivan as the narrator is somewhat questionable: Ivan may polish up the story subconsciously to make himself appear as a more righteous person. For example, Ivan doesn’t mention why he went to college but his younger brother did not. Ivan may have enjoyed their father’s financial advantage before things took a bad turn for the family’s finances and thus his younger brother was unable to get the same education. Ivan may thus ignore the fact that Nicholai’s materialistic understanding of happiness stems from a longtime struggle caused by economic disadvantage in the first place.