Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the chapter “The Suitor and Papa” by Anton Chekov of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) Alternative English (Seasons) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: In his satirical prose piece “The Suitor and Papa,” renowned Russian author Anton Pavlovich Chekov highlights the plight of a young suitor whose innocent summer fling with the daughter of a court official is misconstrued as an attempt to woo her.
At the beginning of the story, our hero, Pyotr, is at the summer ball and is bewildered by all the attention and questions surrounding his upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, it’s too late for him to change the fact that he and Anastasia, daughter of the Court Councillor, have been spending time together every day, including going on walks and eating dinners, and that everyone thinks he’s trying to woo her. He tries to get out of it by talking to the girl’s father, Court Councillor Kondrashkin, and explaining that he has decided to leave town. He says goodbye to Kondrashkin without bringing up Anastasia, perhaps to avoid the topic or to emphasise a point. However, the father of seven daughters, who is desperate to see at least one of them married to a suitable suitor, refuses to let him off that easily and instead accuses him of dodging the issue of marriage.
Pyotr begins by making sincere arguments to Kondrashkin, attempting to persuade him that he is unfit to marry Anastasia so that he can avoid the upcoming marriage. Although Kondrashkin was not having any of it. He says that Pyotr’s lack of maturity and experience has caused him to have second thoughts about getting married, and he reassures Pyotr that life together will become sweeter and easier as time goes on. After his list of facts fails to persuade Kondrashkin, Pyotr resorts to outright lies in the hopes that he will change his mind about him as a potential groom. However, Kondrashkin remains unmoved in his position. Instead, he presents compelling arguments refuting Pyotr’s explanations for why he doesn’t want to marry his daughter, Anastasia. After failing to persuade Kondrashkin, Pyotr considers pretending to be insane so that he can be declared unfit for marriage in accordance with the law.
After some consideration, Pyotr decides to ask a physician friend to forge a certificate of insanity for him. Sadly, he visits his friend Dr Fituyev right after he and his wife have gotten into an argument. Fituyev, who was having second thoughts about his own marriage, was overjoyed to learn that his friend wanted to be spared from a similar predicament. Dr Fituyev refuses to declare Pyotr insane, saying that this is the kind of choice that can only be made by a very wise man.
By cleverly adding this ironic and humorous twist at the end, Anton Chekov leaves his readers wondering what happens next. It’s unclear whether the protagonist was able to break free of his predicament or whether he ultimately gave in to his controlling father’s demands.
I. Answer these questions in one or two words
1. Who is the suitor in the story?
Answer: The suitor in the story is Pyotr Petrovitch Milkin.
2. Who asked for a stag party?
Answer: Pyotr Petrovitch Milkin’s friends asked for a stag party.
3. How many daughters did Kondrashkin have?
Answer: Kondrashkin had seven daughters.
4. What ‘heredity vice’ did Pyotr refer to as an excuse to avoid getting married?
Answer: “Drinking bouts” is the “heredity vice” that Pyotr refers to as an excuse to avoid getting married.
5. For which crime did Pyotr say that he was on trial?
Answer: Forgerywas the crime that Pyotr said he was on trial for.
6. What ‘horrible secret’ did Pyotr contrive to get rid of the Kondrashkin family?
Answer: The “horrible secret” Pyotr contrived to get rid of the Kondrashkin family was that he was a runaway convict.
7. Why did Pyotr meet his friend, Dr Fituyev?
Answer: Pyotr meets his friend, Dr Fituyev for a fake certification of his mental insanity.
II. Answer these questions in a few words each.
1. Why did Pyotr’s friends ask for a stag party?
Answer: His friends wanted him to throw a stag party because they assumed he was about to tie the knot with Nastya.
2. How did Kondrashkin counter Pyotr’s argument that his convictions and views were different from those of Nastya?
Answer: As a rebuttal to Pyotr’s claim that his beliefs and views were fundamentally incompatible with Nastya’s, Kondrashkin argued that he would never find a wife whose views were completely similar to his own.
3. Why did Pyotr say that he was unworthy of Nastya? How did Kondrashkin react to it?
Answer: In Pyotr’s eyes, Nastya was unworthy of him because of his poverty and alcoholism. Kindrashkin brushed off Pyotr’s flaws, saying that he had never witnessed Pyotr under the influence of alcohol.
4. How did Kondrashkin dismiss Pyotr’s claim that he was guilty of taking bribes?
Answer: When Pyotr accused him of accepting bribes, Kondrashkin said that everyone does it.
5. Why did Kondrashkin fear that Pyotr might be sent to Siberia?
Answer: Due to Pyotr’s embezzlement trial, Kondrashkin was worried that he would be exiled to Siberia.
6. Why did Kondrashkin call Pyotr dishonest?
Answer: Because Pyotr concealed the fact that he was a fugitive from justice, Kondrashkin labelled him dishonest.
7. Why did Dr. Fituyev refuse to give Pyotr the certificate he wanted?
Answer: Because Pyotr refused to get married, Dr. Fituyev declined to give him a fake certificate of insanity. In Dr. Fituyev’s opinion, a person who doesn’t want to get married isn’t crazy; on the contrary, he is wise.
III. Answer these questions briefly in your own words.
1. Why did Pyotr get so disturbed by the rumours of his marriage? What did he try to do to get rid of the disturbing situation?
Answer: The rumours of his wedding upset Pyotr because he had no intention of getting married. The reason for this was that he was primarily a womaniser who was on a dating binge and didn’t want to tie himself down to any one woman. He decided to confront the Kondrashkin father head-on to end any chance of a marriage happening between him and the girl.
2. Which crimes of Pyotr’s, according to Kondrashkin, might land him in Siberia? How did he react to Pyotr’s ‘confession’ of these crimes and why?
Answer: Due to Pyotr’s embezzlement trial, Kondrashkin was worried that he would be exiled to Siberia. Although Kondrashkin was initially shocked to learn of Pyotr’s criminal past, his shock quickly turned to pain and fear upon learning that Pyotr was a fugitive from justice. The shock and horror he felt rendered him mute and immobile. He then sank into an armchair, muttering his regret at having allowed a snake to reside in his home, and he insisted that Pyotr never return.
3. Why did Pyotr decide to adopt ‘Hamlet’s device’? Why did he fail in this venture?
Answer: To get out of his marriage to Nastya Kondrashkin, Pyotr decided to use “Hamlet’s device.” He was unsuccessful in this endeavour because his friend, Dr. Fituyev, refused to issue Pyotr a phoney certificate of insanity because of Pyotr’s refusal to get married. Dr. Fituyev held the opinion that a person who does not wish to get married is neither insane nor foolish.
IV. Give suitable answers to these questions.
1. Describe the character of Kondrashkin in the light of his responses and reactions when Pyotr visits his place to say goodbye.
Answer: To be added soon
2. Do you think that Pyotr was more self-centred than Kondrashkin as revealed in the conversation between the two?
Answer: To be added soon
3. Who, do you think, has won the game? Justify your answer.
Answer: To be added soon
Additional/extra questions and answers/soluions
1. When did Pyotr realise that everyone assumed he would marry Nastya?
Answer: As a result of hearing from a friend that everyone knew he spent entire days with Kondrashkin’s daughters, dining there, accompanying Nastya on a stroll while singing love songs and presenting her with bouquets of flowers, Pyotr realised that he was under pressure to propose to Nastya. One of Pyotr’s pals had even requested a stag. As a result, he has finally come to terms with everything.
2. What was Kondrashkin thinking when he invited Pyotr over to meet Anastasia at his place?
Answer: Since Kondrashkin wanted Pyotr and Anastasia to get married, he welcomed Pyotr to his home so that he could meet Anastasia.
10. For what reason did Pyotr’s pals assume he was set to wed Natsya?
Answer: Nastya Kondrashkin, the daughter of the court councillor, was a frequent recipient of flowers and ballads from Pyotr. On occasion, he would even join her family for dinner. These events had convinced Pyotr’s friends that he was seriously considering proposing to Nastya.
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