Get summary, textbook solutions, questions, answers, extras, notes, pdf for the one-act play The Proposal by Anton Chekhov which is a part of SEBA (Assam Board), TBSE (Tripura Board) Class 10 English (first language) First Flight syllabus.
Summary: The Proposal is a one-act play that begins with a young man, Lomov, proposing to his neighbour’s daughter. They have an argument about Oxen Meadows before he can actually tell the girl. The lady’s father, Chubukov, also joins the heated debate. After that, they get into another argument about their dogs and which one is superior to the other. In the midst of all of this, the proposal is forgotten until Lomov collapses from palpitations and Chubukov immediately places her daughter’s hands in Lomov’s. Unfortunately, the squabbles continue.
Lomov enters his neighbour Chubukov’s house fully dressed in his evening attire as the curtain rises. Chubukov is surprised to see him dressed up and inquires about the occasion. Lomov explains that he came to make a request. Chubukov believes he has come to ask for money, which he does not intend to give. When it is revealed that Lomov has come to ask Chubulov’s daughter, Natalya, for her hand in marriage, Chubukov becomes ecstatic and rushes off to call Natalya.
Lomov is a 35-year-old man who has palpitations, gets easily upset, and has trouble sleeping. He believes that this is the best age for him to marry, and he is relieved that he has made up his mind about Natalya. Natalya, he says, is average-looking and a good housekeeper. When Natalya arrives, Lomov begins the conversation by expressing his gratitude and happiness that both of their families have been on good terms since the beginning. While continuing to discuss his land, he mentions Oxen Meadows, which was previously disputed but is now his. Natalya couldn’t believe what he was saying because she believes Oxen Meadows is her family’s property. Both of them get into a heated debate and act childishly when Chubukov walks in to add fuel to the fire. They scream and shout while Lomov suffers from extreme heart pounding, a side pull, and a numb foot. They evict Lomov from the house and continue to curse him.
While speaking negatively about him, Chubukov unintentionally reveals that he had brought Natalya a marriage proposal, which surprises Natalya, and she immediately regrets sending him out. She tells her father to bring him back right away, and Chubukov curses himself for having a grown-up daughter. When Lomov returns, Natalya attempts to change the subject and begins talking about shooting. They get into an argument about their dogs in some way. Natalya believes that her Squeezer is superior to Lomov’s Guess. They continue to argue when Chubukov enters the scene, only to exacerbate the situation once more. Everyone becomes agitated, and Lomov collapses as a result of his palpitations. Even so, the cursing continues until Natalya notices he is unconscious. They attempt to force water down his throat but are unsuccessful and declare him dead.
Only when Lomov moves a little do they give him some water and Chubukov forcibly hands Natalya’s hands over to him, blesses them, and asks them to kiss. Lomov, who is still not fully conscious, has no idea what is going on. When he finally comes to his senses, he expresses his joy by kissing Natalya’s hands. Natalya, being the child that she is, manipulates him into believing that Squeezer is superior to Guess, but Lomov, being the stubborn man that he is, refuses to accept it. As a result, the squabbling has resumed.
Thinking about the play
1. What does Chubukov at first suspect that Lomov has come for? Is he sincere when he later says “And I’ve always loved you, my angel, as if you were my own son”? Find reasons for your answer from the play.
Answer: Chubukov believes Lomov has come to extort money from him. He is not sincere when he says he has loved him as his son because we see Chubukov try to be friendly and loving on the outside while being rude and selfish on the inside.
2. Chubukov says of Natalya: “… as if she won’t consent! She’s in love; egad, she’s like a lovesick cat…”Would you agree? Find reasons for your answer.
Answer: I agree with Chubukov’s statement because Natalya becomes desperate for Lomov when she learns of his marriage proposal. She begins to sob and begs her father to bring him back.
3. (i) Find all the words and expressions in the play that the characters use to speak about each other, and the accusations and insults they hurl at each other. (For example, Lomov, in the end, calls Chubukov an intriguer; but earlier, Chubukov has himself called Lomov a “malicious, double-faced intriguer.” Again, Lomov begins by describing Natalya as “an excellent housekeeper, not bad-looking, well-educated.”)
(ii) Then think of five adjectives or adjectival expressions of your own to describe each character in the play.
(iii) Can you now imagine what these characters will quarrel about next?
Answer: (i) The characters have used a variety of words and expressions to describe one another. Here are a few examples:
Chbukov – grabber, intriguer, old rat, Jesuit.
Natalya – a lovesick cat, an excellent housekeeper, not bad looking, well educated.
Lomov – a good neighbour, a friend, impudent, pettifogger, a malicious double-faced intriguer, rascal, blind hen, turnip ghost, a villain, a scarecrow, monster, stuffed sausage, wizen faced frump, pup, milksop.
(ii) Some adjectives to consider include: proud, industrious, treasure, darling, love, decent, well-educated, sensible, and lovable, among others.
(iii) A quarrel, like a lie, can be done on any subject.
Extra/additional questions and answers/solutions
1. Why did Lomov pay a visit to Chubukov?
Answer: Lomov went to Chubukov’s house to propose to Natalaya.
2. What is Lomov’s opinion of Natalaya?
Answer: Natalaya, he believes, is an excellent housekeeper, attractive, and well-educated.
14. Describe Chubukov’s character as a wise father?
Answer: Chubukov is the father of a grown-up daughter, Natalya, in Anton Chekhov’s one-act play “The Proposal.” He is a man of the old school, with a feudal mentality. He views marriage as a financial and social arrangement, rather than an emotional or individual bonding. He sees his daughter as a liability when she marries soon. When this attitude in Chubukov’s character is examined, he does not appear to be a sensible father, but rather a shrewd businessman.
Chubukov, on the other hand, is not completely unconcerned about his daughter’s feelings. Even after an abusive interaction, Chubukov brings Lomov back not to complete a business transaction, but to satisfy his love-sick daughter’s demands. He recognises his daughter’s desire for Lomov as a husband and actively promotes their marriage. So, despite having all the awkward elements of a feudal landowner, it wouldn’t be fearful to dismiss Chubukov as an insensible father.
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