Overdoing It by Anton Chekhov

Summary: Overdoing It by Anton Chekhov is a short story about Gleb Smirnov who is a surveyor who comes to survey a site in Devkino and takes a horse and wagon driven by Klim which results in weird emotions and weird events enroute


Gleb Smirnov - The surveyor who looks for transportation to a survey site in Devkino

Klim - The horse and wagon owner that offers Gleb Smirnov a ride to his survey site

Station guard - Tells Gleb to find a peasant for his travel needs at the train station

Section 1:

  • Gleb Smirnov is a surveyor who arrives at Gnilushka by train to survey General Khokhotov's estate which is twenty miles away
  • The station guard tells Gleb that he may find a peasant offering rides out to the estate on the other side of the station where he meets with Klim after some "prolonged negotiations"
  • Gleb is especially critical of Klim's wagon and horse and Klim
  • Instead of enjoying the ride, Gleb talks about the uncomfortable and slow pace of the ride
  • Gleb becomes suspicious of Klim when the cart makes a "left" and tells Klim of several
  • Gleb lies to Klim about certain protection pieces that Gleb had in place to convince Klim that he was strong and protected
  • Gleb says that he has three pistols, is strong enough to take out Klim, has "deputized village police inspectors and policemen" behind every bush and that he has four friend meeting him in the forest to keep Klim at bay
  • With this final bit of information, Klim becomes very scared and abandons his wagon, leaving Gleb alone in the forest for a bit
  • Gleb is surprised at Klim's reaction because he thought a large person such as Klim would not abandon his cart out of fear
  • Gleb calls out for Klim for a while and is concerned with staying in the dark with the wolves and uncertainty
  • In time, Gleb calls out and Klim answers by telling Gleb not to kill him
  • Gleb confesses that all the things that he was saying were untrue and he only said those things to Klim because he was scared
  • Because of Gleb's actions, Klim said that he wouldn't have taken Gleb if he had known he would act like that
  • In the end, Gleb "meditates" and finds himself no longer intimidated by "the road and Klim"

Other Notes:

  • Anton Chekhov is one of Russia's most celebrated writers and has written 1000 or more short stories
  • By telling Klim all of those fibs, Gleb bypassed what could have been one of the most relaxing and quiet rides that he had ever experienced instead he allows fear to prevent that from happening through most of the story

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