Chekhov “Chamber Number 6”: summary

“Chamber Number 6” is one of the most famous works of the Russian classic Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. The cult story tells the story of the inhabitants of a provincial hospital for the mentally ill. In fact, the medical institution is a workshop allegory of modern Russia.

“Chamber Number 6” is one of 19 novels written by Chekhov during his creative career. She is one of the most famous along with Steppe, Drama on the Hunt, Boring Story, and Duel. The work was published in 1892 in the magazine “Russian Thought”. “Chamber 6” was created as if by intuition, just because of the need to write something. In a letter to Jerome Ieronymovich Yasinsky, a writer, literary critic, and journalist, Chekhov reported that an incredibly boring story ends, which is full of reasoning, there is no woman and an element of love.

No matter how much the writer blasphemes his creation, “Chamber No. 6” made a huge resonance. Over time, the expression “chamber 6” became a household name. It is used in case of if they want to characterize something abnormal, or out of the ordinary.

Chekhov “Palate number 6”: summary

Characterization of heroes

In the town forgotten by God-forgotten county, where you can find a huge number on the map of vast Russia, there is a hospital for the mentally ill. There’s room number six in the old wing. The medical institution has a depressing look: the plaster crumbled and covers the walls with ugly pieces, and the roof rusted. Everything here, even the nails of a squid gray fence, have a cursed look. The dirty windows of the sixth ward are tightly closed with thick bars of iron bars, which makes the hospital look like a prison.

There are five patients in room No. 6:

  • The first is a skinny petty bourgeois with a red mustache and crying eyes. He sits all day long, supporting his head with his fist, looking at one point, and sighs sadly about something.
  • The second is a fat man with a stupid meaningless face. He doesn’t react to anything, doesn’t talk to anyone, and seems to have finally lost his ability to think.
  • The third is a skinny blonde with a kind and at the same time cunning face. He has megalomania, blonde is very talkative, he loves to tell everyone about his fictional achievements made in his past life before he got to the hospital.
  • The fourth is a fool of Moiseika. This old man with a sharp beard and curly black hair like a black man, moved his mind twenty years ago when his hat workshop burned down. Moiseika is very kind, unselfish, helpful, and generous. People like him are usually called blessed, God’s people.
  • The fifth inhabitant of the chamber, Ivan Dmitrievich Gromov, is the only intellectual among the patients. He’s 33, he’s a former bailiff, and the official diagnosis is persecution mania. It is in Gromov’s person that the chief physician of the hospital Andrey Efimovich Ragin finds an excellent interlocutor.

Andrey Efimovich Ragin is a talented doctor who plants his vitality and talent in a provincial city and a terrible hospital. Seeing the deplorable state of the medical institution, the chief physician decides not to change anything, because he sees no point in the pathetic attempts of one person to change for the better what needs radical processing. Soon Ragin’s lifestyle boils down to vodka with cucumbers, empty conversations with postmaster Mikhail Averinich and reading books. But one day, Dr. Ragin entered room No. 6, where he started a conversation with patient Gromov.

Despite the fact that Gromov was on the other side of the hospital lattice, he called for fighting for his rights and was eager to change the world for the better. The philosophy of the sixth patient was contrary to the theory of contemplation that Ragin adhered to. However, the discussion with an intelligent smart man so interested and excited the doctor that he began to visit the ward almost every day to talk to his favorite.

This behavior of the doctor could not but attract attention, and soon rumors spread through the hospital that the doctor had gone crazy. The spread of slander was greatly facilitated by the district doctor Yevgeny Fedorovich Khobotov, who actively claims the place of Ragin. In the end, Andrei Efimovich is offered to “go on vacation”. Ragin realizes perfectly well that he survives. It undermines his mental strength, he becomes impulsive and irritable and one day puts his friends out of the apartment.

Rain is soon invited to a consultation at the hospital. Khobotov tricks Ragin into room No. 6 and leaves him there. Watchman Nikita, who specializes more in brutally beating patients, brings hospital uniforms and beats the demoted doctor in the face. Andrei Efimovich realizes that his life and philosophy have cracked. Ragin no longer sees the point in existence, and therefore life leaves it – soon Ragin dies of an apoplectic blow.

The main idea

Gromov and Ragin’s polemic was based on a clash of two points of view. Ragin positioned himself as a contemplator. He called life a vanity of vanities and did not consider it appropriate to interfere in the current course of events. It makes no sense to fight. Gromov, on the contrary, believed that life was a struggle. A thinking person cannot stand aside when there is chaos around when other people suffer. The patient called the doctor’s philosophy “philosophy of Russian lezheboka”. “Convenient philosophy,” Gromov noted with fervor. “And your conscience is pure, and you feel wise.”

The author leads the reader to realize that serious social problems concern every person. Life will not change for the better as long as people remain deaf, as long as the concept of “alien grief” exists.

Chekhov watches the discussion of his characters as if detached, allowing both the doctor and his patient to speak out. However, the final events of the story prove the failure of Ragin’s philosophy. Unpredictable life can turn so that you find yourself in a position of oppression, and then others will begin to philosophize, while you will tearfully ask for help.

Analysis of the work

Based on the central idea of action and inaction, Chekhov also prepares topical social and philosophical problems:

  • Violence against the human person;
  • Rights and lawlessness;
  • Values of human life (to be accurate, the problem of devaluing life);
  • The disenfranchised of modern people (the oppressed, disadvantaged, and unjustly accused simply has nowhere to seek protection).

Chekhov Chamber No. 6 is a reduced copy of modern Russia. The inhabitants of the ward and hospital are citizens of Russia, which make up the society. It has a place for unfortunate disadvantaged, blind-blind people, blessed fools (Moiseika), executioners, stupid warriors (watchman Nikita), hypocrites and careerists (Khobotov), irresponsible revelers (postmaster), idle philosophers (Ragin), and, of course, enthusiastic romantic By the way, thanks to the latter, our world still exists.

“Chamber 6” in the cinema

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov’s cult story has been filmed several times. The first film was shot in Germany in 1974. The film was directed by Karl Fruchtmann. This was followed by two film adaptations from Poland and Yugoslavia.

In 2004, the first Russian film called “Ragin” was released. Kirill Serebryakov headed the project (“Murderer’s Diary” (t/s), “Yuryev Day”). The role of Ragin was played by Alexei Guskov, and Gromov was played by Alexander Galibin.

The most famous film was released in Russia under the same name “Chamber No. 6.” The film was worked on by a creative tandem of masters of domestic direction Alexander Gornovsky (“Son”, “Fifth Blood Group” (t/s) and Karen Shakhnazarov (“Courier”, “We are from Jazz”). The roles of Ragin and Gromov were performed by Alexander Ilyin and Alexei Vertov. Also, the project was attended by stars of domestic cinema – Alexander Pankratov-Cherny, Evgeny Stychkin, Viktor Solovyov, Alexei Zharkov, and others.

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4 months ago

A very good and detailed review of this story became a revelation for me, it revealed to me some things that I did not think about, maybe even now it seems to me that there are such people who are very easily broken by our system and in the end, they become exiles for society. Thanks for the great content, I’ll be waiting for new stories and reviews! You write very interestingly!

3 months ago

The scary thing is that this is true even today. After all, now psychiatric science is able to turn an ordinary person into a mentally ill person, to accept some unique personality trait as a manifestation of some kind of schizophrenia or idiocy. Probably, and maybe definitely, there are people in medical institutions who are definitely not mentally ill, but someone needs them to appear sick. That is, it is such a flexible thing that absolutely everyone in our dangerous world can be recognized as a patient.