10 Responses

  1. Graham Storrs
    Graham Storrs July 16, 2008 at 9:36 pm |

    Thanks for pointing out this wonderful story. I’ve always loved Chekhov but didn’t know this one. Thanks to Terry Finlay too, who sent me to your post, and, of course, to Project Gutenberg for making it available online.

    I read a fairly depressing blog post today called ‘How not to start a story’ (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-not-to-start-story.html) ‘The Student’ would have failed the test completely and so would many other stories I love (and quite a few I’ve written!)

  2. Terry Finley
    Terry Finley July 16, 2008 at 1:23 pm |

    What a great article.
    My goal is to write
    a perfect short story.

  3. Rebecca Reid
    Rebecca Reid July 17, 2008 at 6:29 am |

    @Terry Finley: What a goal! I wish you luck. I’m finding reading great literature is a great inspiration. @Graham Storrs: I think there is merit to some of those “how not to start a story” but you’re right, Chekhov would have failed! I think the key is you need to know what the “rules” are before you try to break them. I think Chekhov does a great job!

  4. Rebecca Reid
    Rebecca Reid July 17, 2008 at 7:55 am |

    @Graham Storrs:

    I should add that I don’t really think there are any rules. But I don’t think many of the classic, great stories probably wouldn’t get much support in today’s best-seller world, including Chekhov!

  5. Jessica
    Jessica July 25, 2008 at 5:28 am |

    I must admit that I savor your thoughtful HTR&W posts. I love short stories and your announcement that you’d found a perfect one caught my attention. (I also liked your post about varying translations.) I have a Chekhov compilation and have flagged “The Student” for an upcoming afternoon read. Thanks!

  6. Rebecca Reid
    Rebecca Reid July 25, 2008 at 11:05 am |


    Wow, that is the nicest compliment you could have given me. Thank you so much. That’s my goal: to be thoughtful about what I read rather than just turning the pages, as I have been. As for the “perfect” short story, I’m realizing these things are all subjective. Even all of HTR&W, of course, is subjective. But I do hope you enjoy the story.

  7. Kim
    Kim July 26, 2008 at 5:01 am |

    Thanks for pointing out this great short story. The Gutenberg Project is so wonderful. Jessica is right about your posts. They are always so thoughtful and interesting.

  8. Rebecca Reid
    Rebecca Reid July 28, 2008 at 6:41 am |

    @Kim: I love the Gutenberg Project! I’m glad you find my posts interesting.

  9. Amy Ryu
    Amy Ryu March 17, 2011 at 5:47 am |

    I felt almost the same things as you but you express yourself in words much better!
    After reading the student I felt that I really want to write something about myself that captures the moment, my emotions as well as Chekhov does!
    I never liked short stories, but truly the student is great!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid March 17, 2011 at 7:29 am |

      Amy Ryu » aw, thanks! I love how well Chekhov captured the moment in this story. Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you enjoy it too!

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