Cherry Orchard Symbolism
"We don\'t see things as they are. We see them as we are." This quote
by Anais Nin expresses an essential point of view for this discussion about the
symbolic meaning of inanimate objects, since it is our personality and our
memories, which determine our character and meaning. Our feelings towards
certain objects are individual, as everyone associates different things in a
different manner. Insofar, "we see them as we are", since they can
mirror our past, pains, hopes and our ideals. Thus they become more than just an
object, but a symbol for a certain part of someone\'s feelings and life. This is
also the case in "The Cherry Orchard": objects as the nursery room,
the bookcase and the cherry orchard take on their own symbolic life. They all
share one thing in common: each one reveals something of the characters\'
personalities, feelings and ideals. These inanimate objects are a reflection of
the characters\' inner states of being. The meaning of these inanimate objects
are changing analogously with the characters\' change of mood, perspective and
state of mind. Thus one gets the impression that the objects are more like
persons, since it is only the characters\' life, which makes and keeps them
alive. The nursery room may be for an outstanding person without any implicit
significance, but for Lopakhin and Liuba it is a symbol for their childhood,
background and past. The nursery room reminds Lopakhin of his origins. It makes
him aware that he is "just a peasent" (p.334); no matter how rich he
has become or how elegant he might be dressed, his social background still
remains visible for other people. After all, one "can\'t make a silk purse
out of a sow\'s ear"(p.334), as his origins will be for good a part of his
identity. For Liuba the nursery room symbolizes her "innocent
childhood" (p.347). Being in this room, in which "she used to sleep
when she was little" (p.336) seems to bring her back to feel a part of that
secure, carefree life and makes her feel "little again"(p.336). The
bookcase has the same effect on her; all her troubles seem to be far away and
she feels pure "happiness" (p.342). Gayevs\' \'relationship\' to the
bookcase is less personal, as he doesn\'t associate a particular personal memory
with it. He considers it rather as an object, which has its own personality;
hence, though it is "an inanimate object, true, but still a bookcase
(p.345)"! The way he sees it is reminiscent of a hero, as it has for
already hundred years "devoted itself to the highest ideals of goodness and
justice" (p.345) and has never deceived anyone. Being constantly and
unshakably true to its \'principles\', it was a source, from which "several
generations of their family"(p.345) have drawn courage and hope "in a
better future"(p.345). In the course of time a lot of things have changed:
some people are dead, Gayev and Liuba got adolescent, and the estate is probably
going to be sold. However, the bookcase not being subject to any rules or
changes, thus becomes for Gayev a symbol of consistency and security. The
central symbol of "The Cherry Orchard", as the title might suggest, is
the cherry orchard itself. The cherry orchard does not only represent an
inanimate object, but it is the center of the characters\' world. Their lives
could be divided into the era "before the cherry orchard was sold"
(p.301) and into the era after it. With this change the symbolic meaning of the
cherry orchard before and after the sale also changes. The cherry orchard\'before the sale\' plays a part in each of the characters\' past; but it seems
foremost to be part of Liuba\'s mind, through which the cherry orchard takes on
his own symbolic life, as its symbolic meaning changes with the changes in her
mind. She "can\'t conceive to live without the cherry orchard" (p.375),
as almost her whole past and memories are connected to it. Looking at it seems
to revive the memories of her "happy childhood" (p.347) and makes time
stand still, as if "nothing has changed"(p.347) in her life. In those
days her attitude towards life was innocent and "bold" (p.375), as she
wasn\'t yet "able to foresee or expect anything dreadful"(p.375). She
felt like the cherry orchard, "after the dark, stormy autumn and the cold
winter, [-] young and joyous again" (p.347); but now, she seems to have
lost this "power of vision" (p.375) and her naive view of life. That\'s
might be the reason for her to see the