How many chances can be are given until one learns? In Anton Chekhov’s story, “A Problem”, it focuses on the external conflict between the main characters, Sasha and his two paternal uncles, Ivan Markovitch and The Colonel. In the story Sasha is a young juvenile denounced for forging a IOU’s signature. As a result the incident precipitated a feud between the two uncles.
Ivan rationalized that due to his rough childhood Sasha did not know any better and should have been free from harsh consequences. While his other uncle, the Colonel reasoned that Sasha needs to take accountability for his wrong-doings. For the remainder of this essay, I will be breaking down both points of each side and contrasting them.
The main theme of the story is the conflict between two opposing sides regarding justice. I will be further explaining both point from each side of the contretemp. Starting with Ivan Markovitch, this uncle argued in a more indulgent way.
He stated that Sasha was tremendously lacking any sort of guidance. Which then led Sasha to struggle with his behavior and actions. On the other hand, his more obstinate uncle, the Colonel, wasn’t as compassionate as Markovitch was. He believed that the only way to learn from mistakes was to be held responsible for your unlawful actions.
Being a man in the military, he does not think that any felonious act should go unpunished. Therefore there disagreements provoked a minor debate. Since the Colonel and Markovitch’s feud seemed to be getting more and more tense, they gathered a small group of family members to put Sasha’s fate to a vote. After an emotional discussion in which Sasha’s late mother was brought up several times, they came up with a consensus that Sasha didn’t deserve time in jail. They also agreed to contribute rubles (money) to help pay off his debt. Although the Colonel was far from satisfied, there was nothing he could control, hence the majority voting for Sasha to be freed from punishment.
In the ending, thanks to all of his relatives that helped pay off his debt, Sasha was no longer into trouble. However Sasha seemed to be very careless and unperturbed. Sasha claimed to not be a criminal and has never been one. Almost immediately after declaring his innocence, he implored his uncle Ivan to grant him 100 more rubles. Ivan flustered with Sasha’s request refused to fufill his plead.
Unfortunately Sasha threatened to turn himself in or to create another fake promissory note. Without a choice and Ivan feeling manipulated, he handed his nephew the 100 rubles. Sasha then strolled away nonchalantly without a word. This story shows that many people will not listen nor learn without proper punishing. Ivan showed compassion and was willing to give Sasha a chance to change. While the Colonel wanted Sasha to learn by receiving a sentence. Both sides of the arguemeng were valid to a certain extent. Ivan was right for always wanted to show passion and giving people second chances.
Sasha had multiple chances but failed to grasp that’s great change was needed. It was right that Colonel strongly believes that no crime should go unpunished and the compassion toward specifically Sasha will further reinforce his ways. Overal, the Colonel’s arguement was the most reasonable because it take a lot to change a person who has had behavioral issues they most of their life.