After reading the lesson and short story “Heartache,” submit answers to the following questions:
1. Short story writers must be very precise in their use of language, as their narratives must not exceed a certain length. Examine Chekhov’s use of language or figurative devices in this story. Select and discuss passages that illustrate his precise use of word choice that create clarity and suggestiveness. Also, what effects does the dialogue have upon your understanding of the conflict? In what way has the death of Iona’s son “changed everything”?
2. Speculate about the implicit theme Chekhov develops in the story. Examine aspects of Iona’s conflict which suggests that at the bottom of his despair comes the moment of salvation or redemption. In what way does Chekhov suggest that the bleakest moment is also the moment when the real message of transformation is possible.
3. Write a guest column for your school newspaper in which you express your views on the value of a particular struggle or conflict. Consider the audience for this column in deciding how to describe your views. Keep the length of the column reasonable for newspaper columns. When you are satisfied with your writing, revise it for style and content suggestions. After a final revision, submit your column.