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The Beggar

06 The Beggar

‘The Beggar’ is a story from Anton Chekov’s ‘The Complete Short Stories collection’. In the story, we see an encounter between an alcoholic beggar and a well to do advocate. The advocate provides the beggar with a job. But it is someone else who actually helps him mend his ways.

Sergei helps Lushkoff only after the latter agrees to chop wood for him. He believes that honest labour will reform Lushkoff. Olga, on the other hand, helps Lushkoff without making demands from him. True, she scolds him with a sharp tongue, but at the end, she chops the wood for him so that he could earn some money. And it is Olga’s this approach towards helping the needy that changes Lushkoff for the better.

Meanings of words and phrases

  • lodging: a temporary accommodation
  • calumny: false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation
  • victim: a person who is tricked or duped
  • ragged: old or torn
  • suppliant: a person making a humble or earnest plea to someone in power or authority
  • mendicant: a beggar
  • obliged: legally or morally bound to do something
  • expelled: forced someone to leave a place
  • swindling: using deception to deprive someone of money
  • choir: an organized group of singers
  • sent away: dispatched someone on a task
  • perplexity: inability to deal with or understand something
  • shrugged his shoulders: showed indecision or indifference
  • irresolutely: someone who feels stuck in a situation
  • gait: a person’s manner of walking
  • consented: agreed
  • undermined: made someone less powerful or weaker
  • inclination: a person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way
  • wrathfully: full of anger
  • shoved: pushed aside with force
  • pseudo-teacher: someone who pretends to be a teacher
  • flung down: threw with force
  • spat angrily: said something quickly and angrily
  • billet: a thick piece of wood
  • wavered: moved in a quivering way
  • cautiously: deliberately avoids potential problems or dangers
  • vanished: disappeared
  • menial: a lowly job
  • waif: a homeless, neglected, or abandoned person
  • hauling: pulling or dragging something with effort
  • sober: not affected by alcohol
  • jeered: made rude and mocking remarks
  • timidly: in a shy and nervous manner
  • roasting: scolding
  • flying to your protection: seeking help
  • indebted: owed gratitude for a service or favour
  • sot: a habitual drunkard
  • miserable: very unhappy
  • departed: went away from a place

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