Monday, August 26, 2013

Free Short Story Study: Vengeance by Chekov

Good Day, Teachers & Homeschoolers!

Welcome to my free unit study from my short story curriculum, The Classical Reader: Short Stories of Action & Adventure. Reprinted from the Tachers' Edition, it gives you all the materials needed to teach the classic short story, Vengeance by Anton Chekov. The full curriculum, available through Amazon, has this and fifteen more stories, similarly treated.

I had a great time making up the student materials for this book, and found I love making up all the extra stuff that goes into assessment materials, such as the wrong answers on multiple choice, and the false statements for the true-and-false questions. This, in turn, has made a set of materials that will bring the material alive for your students, especially boys, who can be reluctant readers. After all, the idea of teaching literature is to promote a lifelong love of literature, right? One cannot do that with dull materials.

ONE CAVEAT: on the matching sections of the worksheet and quiz, everything just scrolls down in one, single column, rather than the traditional two columns. This means that the student will not have what he is trying to match side by side, about which he will, undoubtedly, complain...and with good reason! That is why the workbook and quizbook are available ONLY IN PAPERBACK for now. In the paperback editions, everything appears as it should, which you can confirm using the Look Inside feature on their respective pages at Amazon.



 by Anton Chekov

 LYEV Sawitch Turmanov, a worthy citizen who possessed a nice little fortune, a nice little wife, and a nice little bald spot on his head, was celebrating the birthday of one of his friends with a game of cards. After a strenuous effort which covered his forehead with perspiration, he suddenly recollected that he and the bottle had been strangers for quite a long time.

He rose and, balancing himself on his tiptoes between the tables, went into the guest room where the youngsters were dancing. Here he smiled graciously and with a fatherly caress he patted the shoulders of a young skinny druggist, slipping forthwith through a little door which led into the dining room. On a little round table in this room stood bottles and glasses with whiskey. . . Among other refreshments he spied a plate contain- ing half a herring alluringly decorated with onions and parsley.

Lyev Sawitch filled a glass, made a gesture as though about to deliver a speech, emptied the glass and made a wry face. Then he jabbed the herring with the fork and. . . . But suddenly he overheard voices behind the wall.

"Very well," spoke a woman's voice, "but when ?"

"My wife," said Lyev Sawitch to himself, recognizing the voice. "I wonder whom she is talking to?"

"Whenever you desire," replied a deep and heavy bass.

"Today it is not convenient, tomorrow I shall be busy the whole day. . ."

"This is Dentjarev," thought Lyev recognizing the bass voice of his friend. "Et tu, Brute ! And so she has caught you, too, in her net? By Jove, nothing seems to satisfy her. I've never seen such a restless woman in my life! Not a single day can she live through without her little romance!"

"Yes, tomorrow I shall be busy," continued the heavy bass. What do you say to writing me a little note? That will give me great pleasure. . . But we must introduce some system into our correspondence. Let's see if we can't find some way. It isn't a bit safe to send our letters through the mail. Your turkey is liable to intercept our correspondence in that way. And when you write to me, my wife might sometimes open the letter in my absence, and then ! . . . "

"What shall we do, then?"

"We've got to find some way, It won't do to send them through a servant, for your lobster of a husband is surely watching the servants. . . I wonder whether he's still at that game of cards?"

"Yes, and he always loses, too, the big boob!"

"He must be lucky in love, then," laughed Dentjarev. . . "Now, listen, my little girlie. I've hit upon a plan. On my way from the office tomorrow at six o'clock I pass by the Public Garden where I am to meet the Inspector. And so, sweetheart, I want you to manage just a little before six, but not later, to place a note for me in the marble vase that stands to the left of the grapevine arbor. Do you know the place I mean ? ' '

"Certainly I do."

"That will be poetical and mysterious and unique. And in this way neither your wooden-headed meal ticket nor my old shrew will know anything about it. Do you understand?"

Lyev Sawitch emptied another glass and returned to the game. The discovery which he had just made did not surprise him; it did not even arouse his jealousy or anger. He had long outgrown the habit of scolding and fuming and raging and even occasionally beating his wife for her misbehavior. He had long ago given up all hope and nowadays he merely looked through his fingers at his wife's romantic vagaries. And yet he was now feeling uncomfortable. His pride and self-love were touched to the quick at such appellations as "boob," "lobster," and "wooden-headed meal ticket."

"Ye gods, what a blackguard this Dentjarev is !" he thought as he marked down his score. "When he meets me in the street he pretends to be a good friend, grinning and patting me in the belly; and yet see what he can do behind my back. When he speaks to me man to man, I'm his friend, and when he talks behind my back, lo and behold! I'm a boob and a lobster. . ."

And the more he lost at the game, the more indignant he felt.

"Why, his mother's milk is still wet on his lips," he thought, crushing in his rage the piece of chalk which he held. "He's nothing but a little snipe. . . If it were not for the fact that I wouldn't condescend to slap his face, I'd show him what a wooden-headed meal ticket can do!"

 At supper he was unable to look Dentjarev straight in the face, although the latter seemed as if on purpose determined to annoy him with his questions. Had he won or lost? Why was he so sad? and so forth. He even had the nerve to scold Lyev's wife for not being sufficiently careful of her husband's health. . . And his wife, as though nothing had happened, looked at her husband with buttery eyes, chatting so innocently and laughing so genuinely that the devil himself could not have accused her of faithlessness.

And when he came home, Lyev Sawitch felt angry and dis- satisfied, as though he had eaten old rubbers instead of veal for supper. He might have made an effort to forget the whole incident were it not for his wife's laughter and prattle which reminded him every minute of the boob, the lobster, the wooden-headed meal ticket.

"I should have punched him in the jaw, that low life," he thought. "Right in front of everybody. . ."

And he pictured to himself how nice it would be to thrash Dentjarev, or to challenge him and shoot him like a bird. . . It wouldn't be a bad idea to make him lose his job. . . Or perhaps

it would be best to put some disgusting object into the marble vase, something with a nasty smell, a dead rat for instance. . . Perhaps he might abscond his wife's letter and put in its place a silly poem signed "Your Akulyka," or something else of that sort.

For a long time he paced through his bedroom cooling his rage with these reveries. Suddenly he stopped and slapped his forehead.

"Hooray, I've got it!" he exclaimed, beaming with joy. ' ' This is a wonderful idea ! Excellent ! ' '

"When his wife fell asleep, he sat down near the table and after long deliberation, disguising his handwriting and purposely committing a number of errors, he penned the following :

"To the Merchant Dulinov. Dere Sir: —

If up to six oclock dis evenin, the twelvth of September, you fale to put two hundred dollars inter the marble vaze wieh is situaited in the Public Garden, just to the left of the graip-vine arber, you will be a dead man and your dry-gudes store will be blown up."

And signing this missive, Lyev Sawitch jumped up enthusiastically. "Isn't this a wonderful plan?" he growled rubbing his hands together. "Immense, even if I do say so myself ! Beelzebub himself couldn't have hit upon a happier idea! It is quite certain that the storekeeper Dulinov will get so scared that he will immediately notify the police. And they will surely send a number of detectives who will hide themselves among the bushes and watch. . . At six o'clock, when Dentjarev comes for his letter, they will nab the poor bloke, — and by Jove, won't he get pepper to smell!. . . He'll be scared blue, and before everything is cleared up, the rascal will get a good chance to cool his amorous ardor in jail. . . And it will serve him right, too. . . Bravo, Lyev Sawitch!..."

He put a stamp on the envelope and going downstairs deposited it himself in the letter box.

He fell asleep with a radiant smile playing upon his lips. For many a long night had he not slept so sweetly and so soundly.

When he awoke in the morning and recalled his plan he felt so happy that he actually began to purr and even went so far as to flirt with his faithless wife. . .

On his way to work and later, while sitting in his office, he kept smiling to himself as he pictured Dentjarev's terror on finding himself caught in the trap. . .

Toward six o'clock he could restrain himself no longer and ran to the Public Garden in order to witness with his own eyes the downfall of his enemy.

"Aha!" he thought, seeing a policeman in the vicinity.

Arriving at the well-known arbor he sat down behind a tree and, fixing his sharp, stern eyes upon the vase, awaited the arrival of Dentjarev. He sat as if on pins and needles in his impatience.

Precisely at six Dentjarev appeared. The young man was evidently in a very good humor. His silk hat encircled his head at a coquettish angle, and through his unbuttoned coat his very soul seemed to glitter together with his vest. He was smoking a cigar and whistling a merry tune. . .

"Now, you big slob, I'll show you who is a lobster and a wooden-headed meal ticket!" chuckled Turmanov. "You just wait!"

Dentjarev approached the vase and languidly put his hand into it. . . Lyev Sawitch half rose and fixed his eyes upon him. . . The young man took a tiny package out of the vase, carefully examined it on all sides and shrugged his shoulders. Then he undid the package, shrugged his shoulders again and opened his mouth in astonishment; the package contained two brand new one hundred dollar bills. . .

Dentjarev looked long at these bills. Finally, shrugging his shoulders once more, he put them into his pocket and said, "Many thanks!"

Poor Lyev Sawitch heard these words "many thanks." That entire evening he stood opposite Dulinov's dry-goods store, shook his fist at the sign and raged:

"You coward ! You soul of a penny store-keeper! Pinhead! Ass! You pot-bellied rabbit you ! . . . "

Workbook AssignmentsWB Page: Vengeance by Anton Chekov

I. Short answer
Please answer on a separate piece of paper, if necessary.

1, 2. Often, a short story will have a protagonist (the hero) and an antagonist (his enemy). Name the protagonist and the antagonist in this story.



3. What made Lyev Sawitch angry?

4, 5. Write two of the insulting names Lyev Sawitch is called by his wife and Dentjarev.

6. What do Dentjarev and the wife plan to do?

II. Circle the best answer

7. Lyev Sawitch is upset by his wife's behavior because...

A. she and Dentjarev humiliated him with their insults.
B. it could cause him to lose his job.
C. she punched him in the jaw, right in front of everybody.
D. she had never done anything like that before.
E. Dentjarev was his boss.

8. Lyev Sawitch planned to have his revenge on them by...

punching Dentjarev in the jaw, right in front of everybody.
setting up Dentjarev for extortion.
C. shooting Dentjarev like a bird.
D. thrashing Dentjarev.
E. putting some disgusting object into the marble

9. Which of the following did Lyev Sawitch have to do to set his plan into action?

Send a text message
Send a telegram
Write and mail a letter
Rig a trip wire
Wear a costume

10. What did Dentjarev find in the urn?
A. mousetrap
B. ping pong balls
C. honey
D. money
E. poison

III. True or false?
Underline the correct choice.

11. At the end of the story, Lyev Sawitch reacted by yelling insults at Dulinov's dry-goods store.
True or false?

12. The lesson taught by this story is it doesn't pay to take revenge on your enemies, as it can backfire on you.
True or false?

13. Anton Chekov was Russian.
True or false?

14. Two other famous Russian authors were Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
True or false?

IV. Match the vocabulary word with its meaning.
Place the correct choice beside the corresponding vocabulary word.

____ 15. alluring

____ 16. wry

____ 17. appellation

____ 18. blackguard

____ 19. condescend

____ 20. reverie

____ 21. deliberation

____ 22. missive

____ 23. ardor

____ 24. coquettish

____ 25. languid

A. dishonorable man

B. patronize

C. daydream

D. flirty

E. lazy

F. passion

G. letter

H. careful consideration

I. title

J. disgusted-looking

K. attractive

V. Composition
Continue the story for 500 words using separate paper as needed.

Quiz: Vengeance

Vocabulary: Circle the letter the best definition for each word.

A. disgusted-looking
B. pick
C. vengeance
D. Letter
E. title

2. appellation
A. passion
B. pick
C. title
D. letter
E. vengeance

3. blackguard
A. vengeance
B. pick
C. title
D. careful consideration
E. dishonorable man

4. condescend
A. vengeance
B. title
C. patronize
D. flirt
E. carefully consider

5. reverie
A. vengeance
B. daydream
C. flirty
D. title
E. lazy

6. deliberation
A. title
B. laziness
C. flirting
D. careful consideration
E. daydreaming

7. missive
A. lazy
B. careful consideration
C. flirting
D. daydream
E. letter

8. ardor
A. daydream
B. flirting
C. careful consideration
D. laziness
E. passion

9. coquettish
A. daydream
B. pick
C. lazy
D. considerate
E. flirty

10. languid
A. pick
B. daydream
C. passionate
D. disgusted-looking
E. lazy

11. alluring
A. vengeance
B. pick
C. title
D. careful consideration
E. attractive

II. Match the best answer, indicating the correct letter on the line provided.

____ 12. Lyev Sawitch
____ 13. Dentjarev
____ 14. Turmanov
____ 15. Dulinov

A. Merchant
B. Protagonist
C. Antagonist
D. Lyev Sawitch's last name

III. Underline "True" or "false."

16. Dulinov found a dead rat in the urn.
True or false?

17. To put his plan into action, Lyev Sawitch had to write a letter, mail the letter, and call the police.
True or false?

18. Lyev Sawitch tried to frame Dentjarev for a crime.
True or false?

19. Lyev Sawitch's plan of vengeance backfired.
True or false?

20. The wife had never cheated on her husband before.
True or false?

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