Female characters often became the focus of Ivan Bunin’s creative search. Apparently, he was interested in exploring their mystery and incomprehensibility. In a story about light breathing, written in 1916, Bunin explores such qualities of the nature of the child girl as insecurity, ease and naivety.
The history of her tragedy can convey a brief summary. “Easy breathing” is a story about Meshcherskaya Ole, who has not yet experienced love, but already faced with the cruelty and cynicism of the world of adults. According to the composition, the story can be divided into four parts.
“Easy breathing”, summary (introduction)
The action takes place in April at a large county cemetery. Fresh clay mound under a large new oak cross. From the convex porcelain medallion, a playful schoolgirl joyfully gazes with an astonishingly animated look.
The inscription says that this is Meshcherskaya Olya.
breathing”, short (1 part)
Little, she did not stand out against the background of other girls. She could only say that she was pretty, among the happy and rich girls. One could also add that she is an apprentice, but inattentive to the remarks of a classy lady.
Gradually it developed and blossomed. By the time she was fourteen, she already had a charming, feminine figure, slender legs and a slender waist. At fifteen she was famous as a beauty, despite the fact that she did not do anything for it. Did not watch how other girls, for her hair, was not particularly clean, ran quickly, flushed, sometimes knocking down her knees.
Imperceptibly, without any effort or concern on her part, came to her those qualities that began to distinguish her from others during the last two years of her gymnasium life. She was distinguished by her elegance, elegance, dexterity and clear shine of her eyes. She was the best dancer in the ball at the ball and skating. The gymnasts fell in love with her and took care of her. Olya was most liked by the younger classes in the gymnasium. True, there was a rumor
about her windiness.
In her last winter Olya was completely stupefied with joy, as they noticed at the gymnasium. In the crowd at the rink she seemed the happiest and light-hearted. Once, on a big change, she was summoned to her by the headmistress. Gray-haired, albeit youthful, she began her conversation with what Olga had said, that she was no longer a girl, but she was not a woman to wear adult hairstyles, expensive combs and shoes. Olya calmly and simply interrupted the headmistress, saying that she became a woman thanks to the efforts of her brother’s boss – Alexei Mikhailovich Malyutin.
“Easy breathing”, a summary (part 2)
The girl died a month later from the hand of a Cossack officer, judging by his ugly and plebeian appearance, which has nothing to do with the circle of communication between the schoolgirl. He shot her right on the crowded train station. The confession, made by Olya Meshcherskaya, was shocking to her superior. The officer said that he was deceived by a schoolgirl who was close to him and promised to become his wife, but, seeing off at the station, disowned her words and said she simply mocked him. As proof she gave me a page in the diary, where she wrote about Milutin. He read it and immediately fired it.
That’s what the girl wrote in her diary. The entry is dated July last year. “I write at two o’clock in the morning Today I broke up with virginity The family left for the city and I stayed at the dacha alone I was so good I walked, dined and played music alone, I thought that my happiness would not end. , that the visit of my father’s friend Alexei Mikhailovich for a long time, I liked to receive him, he looked after me like a gentleman, I was sorry that I did not find my dad, I joked and confessed to love, and when I laid down to rest on the ottoman, I began to kiss. I still do not understand. I did not expect such a thing from myself! I feel terrible disgust towards him and e can now live. “
“Easy breathing”, summary (conclusion)
Every week, on Sunday, a tomb is visited by a small woman in black.
She turned out to be a great lady of Meshcherskaya Oli, an elderly girl who lives in her invented world, replacing her with reality. She very much regrets that the girl died. Once the cool lady became an unwitting witness to Olina talking to her friend. The girl told me that in one father’s old book she read about women’s beauty. It said that, in addition to external data: boiling resin eyes, a small leg and a thin mill – the main thing that a woman had a light breath! I convinced her that she had it! She invited me to listen to her breathing…
This light breathing now dissolved again in the world. It freely floats in the cold spring wind and in the gloomy cloudy sky.
Ivan Bunin “Light Breath”, a summary of which is set out above, wrote before the emigration. The story differs from lyrical works in prose in that it has a clear, not blurry, plot and a strict looped composition. It begins and ends with a description of the cemetery. This, apparently, is caused by the idea of the story, an aching feeling of the loss of a young promising life.