The story wasn’t ghastly for once, although he does ghastly like nobody’s business. No, this one was superficially meaningless but actually funny.
In Passion Week
by Anton Chekhov
An eight-year-old boy is sent to confession during Holy Week in preparation for Easter. He gets into a fight over who goes first, loses, goes in, gets absolved, goes to bed early because he can’t eat after confession, goes to church the next morning. The end.
But you know the Seven Deadly Sins? Greed, Sloth, Envy, Anger, Lust, Pride, and Gluttony. Our boy exhibits all of them, both before and after confession.
BUT, the story also begins with his watching this: “In the gutters there is the merry gurgling and foaming of dirty water, in which the sunbeams do not disdain to bathe.” The merry, dirty, sunbeam-filled water carries “Chips, straws, the husks of sunflower seeds” to the river, the sea, the ocean.
I don’t know about you, but I suspect I’m meant to see a metaphor for reality touched by the divine carrying souls through life to a grand beyond.
Besides the subtle humor of the divinely touched boy helpless in the grip of his gurgling foam and the slapstick of our boy and his rival breaking their candles in a fight for who gets to confess first, I found it a deeply touching story.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Someone confesses something.