To Let off Steam

“On the ceiling he (Nevyrazimov) saw a dark circle–the shadow of the lamp-shade. Below it was the dusty cornice, and lower still the wall, which had once been painted a bluish muddy color. And the office seemed to him such a place of desolation (…)”
“It’s a hopeless position, in fact. One may go on as one is, or one may hang oneself . . .”
“He (…) walked wearily about the rooms.”
“Nevyrazimov stood still in the middle of the office and sank into thought. The yearning for a new, better life gnawed at his heart with an intolerable ache.”
“Nevyrazimov sat down at his table and pondered. The lamp in which the kerosene had quite run dry was smoking violently and threatening to go out. The stray cockroach was still running about the table and had found no resting-place.”

“And Nevyrazimov, racking his brain for a means of escape from his hopeless position, stared at the rough copy he had written. The letter was written to a man whom he feared and hated with his whole soul, and from whom he had for the last ten years been trying to wring a post worth eighteen roubles a month, instead of the one he had at sixteen roubles.
‘Ah, I’ll teach you to run here, you devil!’ He viciously slapped the palm of his hand on the cockroach, who had the misfortune to catch his eye. ‘Nasty thing!’
The cockroach fell on its back and wriggled its legs in despair. Nevyrazimov took it by one leg and threw it into the lamp. The lamp flared up and spluttered.
And Nevyrazimov felt better.”
Small Fry by Anton Chekhov

It is sad that most people can cope with problems by taking out anger on others.



3 thoughts on “To Let off Steam

      1. Brenda

        Yes, but we all have to cope with anger. Lashing out at a cockroach is okay, but often people lash out at other people. And that is sad.

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