Chekhov's highest tribute to his motherland Ukraine, the omniscient, eternal steppe, stretching its boundaries across seemingly endless plains, represents little Yegorushka's first and greatest discovery in life, as he must prematurely open his young heart to adulthood.
|Portrait of Anton Chekhov, by his brother Nikolaj Chekhov|
A metaphor of human lifespan and dimension of time, of physical distance and metaphysical journey, the steppe, like a mother - at one time loving and grim, forgiving and merciless - embraces all things and living creatures.
Finally and justly abandoned to his own destiny, after having crossed over the harsh and sultry mass of rolling lands, "How is this life going to be?" asks the hero child to himself.
The majestic and serene steppe makes no intelligible sound, utters no answer; yet at night, in the deceiving prairie, the mounds, the crags, the stubs, the scattered bushes bear human resemblance under the moon, and sing together as many voices, in perfect harmony, at one time murderous and loving, desperate and compassionate.