ABOUT LOVE | Summary | Question Answers | Heritage Of Words | Class-12

Summary and question answers of ABOUT LOVE
DR Gurung
Anton Chekhov brought both the short story and the drama to new prominence in Russia and eventually in the Western world.
Taking a cool, objective stance toward his characters, Chekhov (1860-1904) conveys their inner lives and feelings indirectly, by suggestion rather than statement. His plots are usually simple, and the endings of both his stories and his plays tend toward openness rather than finality. Chekhov’s works create the effect of profound experience taking place beneath the surface in the ordinary lives of unexceptional people.

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Summary Of 'About Love':

“About Love” is a famous Russian story written by a famous story-writer, Anton Chekhov. In the story, Chekhov presents the difference between three love stories and tries to prove that “Love” like that is not bound by conjugal relations. He views that love is true and spiritual. Happiness, unhappiness, morality, sin, virtue, social status, class, prestige etc. have nothing to do with love. Alyohin is the narrator in this story. He had been living as a poor farmer at Sofyino since he graduated from the university. The story begins when the narrator and his two guests-Bufkin and Ivan were having breakfast in a country house. Alyohin told about the violent love affair between his two servants Nikanor and Pelageya. According to the narrator, pelageya didn’t want to marry Nikanor but she was ready to live with him just so. On the other hand, Nikanor couldn’t stay with her before marriage for religious reasons. Alyohin says that love is a hindrance and a source of dissatisfaction and irritation. To justify his statement, he began his own story.

Alyohin had to work hard at Sofyino to pay off his debt as his father had spent a lot of money on his education by mortgaging the land. Though he was a landowner, Alyohin had to work hard in the farm with his servants. Many years before, he had been elected honorary justice for peace and sometimes he had to go to the town to participate in the court session. Unexpectedly, one of his friends, Luganovich invited him for dinner. There, he was very much attracted by the young and beautiful Ana Alexeyevna, the wife of Luganovich. In the later days, he frequently visited her and they spent much time together flaking for hours and going to the theatre. Though they couldn’t miss the company of each other, they didn’t express their desires, love and feedings. They hid feelings fearing that it would ruin both of their lives.

At last, as a result of unexpressed feelings, Anna had got mental sickness and she had to go to Crimea for treatment. Many people gathered at the railway station to say goodbye to Anna. When the train started to move, Alyohin ran to Anna with her basket which she had forgotten. Their emotional eyes met together and their spiritual strength couldn’t stop them falling in each other’s arms. They kissed each other and expressed their deep love. However, they parted forever and Alyohin returned to his farm land (village) being sad and he would never meet her again in his life. The true love of Alyohin is the means of living. The moment of her memory often relieved Alyohin in his life.

Word Meanings in Nepali of 'About Love'

'About Love' Nepali Word Meanings
Nepali Meanings 'About Love'

pattiesचटामरी, सानो केक
crayfishएक प्रकारको माछो
muttonखसीको मासु
croquettesआलु माछा र पिठोको एक परिकार
clean shavenदाह्री जुँगा राम्रो सँग खौरेको
devoutधर्म मान्ने आस्तिक
convictionsविश्वास, आत्म विश्वास
swearक्रिया हाल्नु, कसम खानु
sobसुँक सुँक गरी रुनु
defendपक्ष लाग्नु, रक्षा गर्नु
inwardlyभित्री तवरबाट
outwardlyबाहिरी तवरबाट
incontestableप्रतिस्पर्धा गर्न नसकिने
embellishसिंगार्नु, सजाउनु
fatalप्राण लिने
charmingमनमोहक, सुन्दर
beefगाईको मासु
honorableमान्न योग्य
hindranceबाधा, विघ्न
irritationझर्को, उत्तेजना

QUESTION and ANSWERS Of 'About Love':

Question No. 1: The second paragraph of “About Love” is a brief account of a violent love affair between two servants’. Is it significant that Alyohin is the source of this anecdote? How does the anecdote contrast with Alyohin's own story ? ("प्रेमको बारेमा" भन्ने कथाको दोस्रो हरफ दुई नोकरहरुको हिंसात्मक प्रेम मामिलामा छोटो वर्णन हो। यो छोटो वर्णन Alyohin ले नै गर्नुको के अर्थ छ ? यो कथा कसरी Alyohin को आफ्नै कथासँग फरक छ ?)
Answer: In the second paragraph of the story, Alyohin tells the story of the violent love affair between Nikanor and Pelageya. It is important that Alyohin is the source of this story because in the story Alyohin is not only a character but also the narrator. The whole sotry revolves around him and his story telling except slight intervention in the first and last paragraph of the story. As he is the narrator, whatever he tells about other and about himself should be believed without any question.

The anecdote makes a contrast with Alyohin's own story. The contrast between the love affair of Nikanor-Pelageya and Alyohin-Anna is clear and innocent one. In the first love story, hero and heroine belong to socially inferior class whereas in the second love story, they belong to socially superior and cultivated class of people. And moreover, the love between first couple is an ordinary and usual love between a man and women to be materialized by marriage but love between Anna and Alyohin is of higher level, an unusual love which goes beyond the social limitation and matrimonial bonds .
Question No. 

2: Alyohin is said to rush around like a squirrel in a cage and this judgement is echoed in the final paragraph of the story. What is the significance of this repetition ? (Alyohin पिंजरा भित्रको लोखर्के दौडे जसरी दौडिरहेको छ भनी बताईएको छ र यो मुल्यांकन कथाको अन्तिममा पनि गुञ्जन्छ। यसरी दोहोर्याउनुको अर्थ के हो ?)
Answer: Alyohin is said to rush around like a squirrel in a cage. Cage symbolizes Alyohin's imprisoned conditions. As a lover, he was sealed within his own self and could not express his love openly. Although he is an educated man he is imprisoned in his farm and, like a squirrel, rushed here and there without any fruitful result anywhere. He too often becomes penniless. The repetition focuses on his lonely, restless and miserable condition.

Question No. 3: Why do you think Chekhov chose to write about an ordinary man instead of a hero or scholar or actor ? Does Chekhov imply anything about Alyohin's assumption that "Celebrated" people lead more fulfilled lives than rest of us ? Do you agree with Alyohin's assumption ? (तिम्रो विचारमा चेखोभले वीर पुरुष, वा विद्दान् वा अभिनेतालाई यस कथाको पात्र बनाउनुको सट्टा एउटा सामान्य व्यक्तिलाई किन छानेका हुन् ? "प्रसिद्द व्यक्तिहरु बाँकी अरु व्यक्तिले भन्दा आफ्नो ईच्छा पूर्ण भएको जीवन बाँच्छन्" भन्ने Alyohin को मान्यतालाई के तिमी समर्थन गर्छौ ?)

The story is basically about the tragic and timid (कातर) love of Alyohin to Anna. Alyohin is a simple educated man. He is an ordinary figure both in his lifestyle and in his love-making. He is neither a hero, nor a scholar or an actor. He innocently loves his friend's wife in a true and spiritual manner. He can not express his love openly because he fears that their love might ruin the life of both of them. He become indecisive (निर्णय गर्न नसक्ने). Alyohin cannot live a fulfilled life of love. He fails to carry out his longing. Though educated, he is compelled (बाध्य परियो) by his own reason to work in the farm in order to pay off all the debt. Living in the countryside he does nothing but envies (ईर्ष्या गर्न) the love-affair between two servants (Pelageya and Nikanov) and feels sad for the failure of his own love.

From Alyohin, Chekhov implies that 'celebrated' people do not lead more fulfilled lives than the rest of us. It is because Anna and Luganovich, as rich and celebrated they are, do not have the fulfilled life (both private and domestic).

Important Extra Questions (On Request):

Question No. 4: How does an account of the occasion and of the setting in which the narrative occurs affect our understanding of Alyohin?
Answer: First two paragraphs of the story provide an appropriate setting to the story. The story starts with an occasion where few friends including Alyohin are having a leisurely time perhaps celebrating their holiday. What they all are doing is eating, drinking and talking. As the time goes on, Alyohin starts talking about the love affair between Nikanor and Pelageya and nature of their behavior. Their conversation turns to the subject of love which leads to the telling of Alyohin’s own love story. Alyohin’s statement about love is very much influenced by his own experience. By telling his own love story, he wants to free love from marital bonds. So, the setting does affect our understanding of Alyohin.

Question No. 5: An atmosphere of inertia is established in the opening paragraphs of the story. Cite some specific details which help to create this atmosphere. Is this air of indecisive leisure suggested again at the end of the story? What is the connection between this atmosphere and Alyohin’s behabiour with the women he loves, and the outcome of their relationship?
Answer: The story begins with an occasion where few friends are having leisurely time. They are eating, drinking and talking about anything they like. They have already had their breakfast and the cook again comes to ask what they would like for dinner. This occasion helps to create the atmosphere of inertia in the sense that they have nothing special to do except eating, drinking and talking. The same air of leisure is suggested again at the end of the story. As Alyohin is telling the story, the rain stops, the sun comes out and two friends Burkin and Iva go out on the balcony and enjoy a fine view of garden. The atmosphere was a close connection with Alyohin’s behavior with the women he loves. Alyohin seems to be lovely fellow and he is always disturbed by the memory of his beloved Anna. Whenever he has any free time, he can’t help telling his love story to others. This also suggests that he has got life long grief and misery as the outcome if his relationship with Anna.

Question No. 6: Compare the two love affairs described in the story.
Answer: The love between the two servants (Nikanor and Prlageya) is an innocent one, and most possibly based on the physical plain of experience. They frankly express their love with each other and have their own choices about marriage. Possibly they are happy in their love despite certain problems. Their love is not bound by marital relation either. On the other hand, Alyohin's love is more of a spiritual kind and has less to do with physical passion. Both of them are drawn to each other but they fail to express their love in words till his last meeting with Anna in a train compartment. Their love did not give fullness and satisfaction but the love led toward unhappiness, separation and pessimism (निराशा).

Question No. 7: Describe the love affairs of Alyohin with Anna; detailing the reason for their failure in love?
Answer: The love affair between Alyohin and Anna is an ideal and Platonic one. Their love is the love of feeling, not of sensuality. They have spiritual love affair. Though they spend hours together they never express their love until they are to be separated permanently. Both are very much conscious about their limitations and responsibilities. The very reason for their failure in love is that they don't dare to cross the social, familial and religious boundaries. They are very much concerned about the consequences that their union can invite. Apart from it, their love is not guided by physical attraction.
Question No. 8: What factors prevented Aloyhin and Anna from expressing their love?
Answer: Aloyhin and Anna have deep feeling of love for each other. However, they never express their emotions. The reasons/factors that prevented them (Aloyhin and Anna) from expressing their love are given below:
a. Anna's married state and having a good husband and a daughter.
b. Their lack of courage to challenge social and religious boundaries.
c. Being too conscious of the result that their union could bring.
d. Aloyhin's unwillingness to betray his friend and ruin their happy life.

Question No. 9: Why does Aloyhin quit his job of honorary justice?
The job of honorary justice creates an opportunity for Aloyhin to go to the city and meet his beloved, Anna. However, when, finally Anna has to permanently go to Crimea to treat her psychological problem caused by the suppressed feeling, there remains no significance of the job and going to the city. Therefore, he quits his job as an honorary justice.

Question No. 10: What kind of love experiences are suggested by Aloyhin in the story "About Love"?
Answer: In the story "About Love", Alyohin has narrated three kinds of love experiences. They are:
a) Violent and expressive love story between Alyohin's servants Nikanor and Pelageya.
b) Money-centered love story with a university girl.
c) Pure and spiritual love story between himself and Anna.
The first love story is about violent and expressive between his servants Nikanor and Pelageya. Nikanor is a drunk with violent temper. Both love each other. Pelageya does not want to marry him, instead she wishes to live with him just so, but Nikanor does not want to live just so. In his drunken mood he beats her and swears at her. The second love story is about Alyohin’s love with a university girl. At university in Moscow, he falls in love with a beautiful girl, who loves him for his money. Every time he holds her in his arm she only thinks about how much money he will give her to pay for housekeeping and foods. So he leaves her. This love is money-centered love.
Third Love Story is about pure and spiritual love between Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna. Alyohin’s first person narrative of his relationship with Anna forms the core of the story. Anna, despite being a married woman with a baby girl and a loving husband, falls in love with Alyohin. Both love each other intensely. Alyohin is very close to Luganoviches. Alyohin and Anna cannot express their love thinking about many ethical issues, which ultimately ruin their love and lives. Because of suppression of feelings and emotions they suffer a lot. Anna starts recognizing that her life is without satisfaction. She becomes moody and careless about her daughter and husband. She becomes the victim of frustration and nervous prostration. Anna has to go to Crimea for treatment. As train is about to leave, Alyohin approaches Anna with a basket she forgets behind. He takes her in his arm and she weeps bitterly. They confess their love. However, it is too late and he bades farewell to her and returns home with heavy heart. He realizes that reasoning in love is the source of irritation, dissatisfaction and hindrance in love.

Possible Questions:

1. Who is Nikanor?
2. Who loves Nikanor?
3. Is Nikanor good or bad?
4. Who wants to get married and who doesn't?
5. Is love easy or difficult to understand?
6. Can you have one statement to describe love?
7. What did Alyohin do when he was a student?
8. What did the woman he loved think about while he was holding her?
9. Where do bachelors like to go?
10. Why do they like to go these places?
11. Who in the story is a bachelor?
12. After finishing university, why does Alyohin work in the field?
13. Does Alyohin want to work in the fields?
14. Was Alyohin's land good or bad?
15. Where did Alyohin sleep at first?

16. What did Alyohin like to do at night?
17. Where did Alyohin sleep later in the story?
18. Why did Alyohin go into town?
19. Who did Alyohin meet in town?
20. Who was Luganovich's wife?
21. What did Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna think about each other?
22. What things did Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna do together?
23. Did Alyohin borrow money from Luganovich?
24. Where did Luganovich and Anna Alexeyevna go?
25. Why were they leaving?
26. Were Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna happy or sad at the end of the story?
27. Explain the idea that love is different in every situation, use examples from the text.
28. In your own words, tell the love story of Alyohin and Anna Alexeyevna.

DR Gurung
A Learner (अज्ञान जस्तो ठूलो शत्रु अरु केही छैन।) 🙏🙏
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Comment Poster
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. It really helped me. Keep doing a great job. U r my good teacher.
Deepa. I'm glad to help! :)
Comment Poster
why does alyohin quit his job of honoraray justice?
Comment Poster
thnk u sir and one still is missed ie about types of love
Comment Poster
still question is left about different type of love
Comment Poster
Deacribe the love affairs of Alyohin with Anna;detailing the reason for their failure in love?
Done. Please check above. :)
Comment Poster
What factors prevented alloyhin and annah from expressing their love?
Done. Please check above. :)
Please, Share, Like if you feel it's helpful.
Comment Poster
what kinds of love experience are suggested by Alyohin in the story?
Done. Please check above. :)
Please, Share, Like if you feel it's helpful.