Summary of “Ionych”

The story “Chekhov’s Ionich” tells about the life of a village doctor, Dmitry Ionych Startsev, who came to Dyalizh for medical practice. In the city of S., which is located a few versts from the village, the doctor gets acquainted with the family of the Turkins, intelligent, educated people, and falls in love with their daughter.

Main characters

Startsev Dmitry Ionych is a practicing physician, the main character of the story.

Turkin Ivan Petrovich is a nobleman with a talent for sharp jokes.

Turkina Vera Iosifovna – wife of Ivan Petrovich, an amateur writing novels.

Turkina Ekaterina Ivanovna – their eighteen-year-old daughter and a talented pianist in whom the main character fell in love. He dreams of leaving his family’s nest as soon as possible. Native people call her affectionately – Kotik.

Other characters

Panteleimon – Startsev’s coachman for many years.


Guests of the city of S. found this city boring and monotonous. But the permanent residents claimed the opposite: in the provincial town there are many entertainments, such as a local theater, a library, gambling clubs and extraordinary personalities, in whose company it was fun and pleasant.

Such people in the city of S. consider the family of the Turks. The head of the family – Ivan Petrovich – is a handsome, pretty man and a great joker. Vera Iosifovna is his wife. Pleasant in all respects, the woman writes amateur novels and proudly reread their guests. Ekaterina Ivanovna, the daughter of the Turkins, also has a talent – excellently plays the piano.

A noble family in the city loved the guests and accepted them kindly. One day, the main character Dmitry Ionich Startsev was invited to the Turkins’ house.

Once hitting the city, Dmitry Ionich recalls the invitation and goes on a visit to a famous family. The new guest was greeted cordially and invited to tea.

Since the wife of Turkina, to each of the visitors of the house, read her novels and novels,

she did not bypass this fate of the doctor. All the plots of her works were invented and did not correspond to reality. After each reading Ivan Petrovich praised his wife and said: “Not bad.”

On the first visit to the intelligent family, the doctor got acquainted with the daughter of the Turkins, Ekaterina Ivanovna. Home preferred to call her Kitty. Startcev immediately liked the girl. She played but the piano, and Dmitry Ionich looked fascinated at the young beauty.

The happy and happy doctor was returning on foot to his home in Dyalizh. He liked this nice family and, in particular, their daughter. He walked almost 10 km and felt no fatigue.

Chapter 2

The doctor really wanted to visit the Turkins again, but there was a lot of work. A year later, Dmitry Ionich receives a letter from Vera Iosifovna, who asks Startseva to come to them. The eldest of the Turks began to suffer severe headaches and since no one could help her from local doctors, she remembered about the Zemsky doctor and decided to ask him for help.

This visit was decisive for the near future in the life of the main character. He begins to visit the patient on a regular basis and falls in love with her daughter – Ekaterina Ivanovna.

Kotik sends a note and appoints a doctor in love with a doctor at the cemetery. Startsev got a little angry because of the chosen place to meet. He begins to convince himself that it is not a matter for such a respectable and respectful man to drag around the cemeteries at night. After an internal conversation with himself, he nevertheless goes to the appointed place.

By this time, the doctor had already got hold of a couple of horses and his coachman, whose name was Panteleimon. They reached the outskirts of the city of S., and then Startsev went on foot.

In vain, Dmitry Ionych hoped for something: his beloved never came. He had no choice but to walk around the cemetery a bit, giving philosophical thoughts about the transience of life…

Chapter 3

The next day the doctor goes to the Turkins with a firm decision to make a proposal to Kitty. In his head thoughts were interrupted: about last night, about a rich dowry, which would be given for a young bride, about love. And immediately Startsev thought that the spoiled social person was not a couple to him, but immediately he dismissed this thought from himself. He suggested escorting Kitty to the club. They both sat in the carriage, where Startsev proposed. Ekaterina Ivanovna reacted dryly to the loving feelings of the doctor and refused – the girl was going to become an actress, and leave this city.

Startsev did not expect a refusal and such a “silly” end of the story. He felt an insult and self-pity. For three days, Dmitry Ionich suffered, and then calmed down and healed as before.

And Kotik went to Moscow to enter the conservatory.

Sometimes remembering past feelings, Startsev was happy that he did not marry the girl.

Chapter 4

Imperceptibly flew for four years. Zemsky doctor accepted patients not only in the village, but also in the city. Behind him, he already had a great work experience, he got hold of a troika of horses.

Dmitry Ionich is considerably replenished, and with him his coachman. The doctor began to worry about shortness of breath and he no longer liked walking.

The doctor had to communicate with many people, but he did not get to know anyone close. He was irritated by the local inhabitants, since he was not interested in them. Only an intellectual tries to talk with someone on a serious topic, and the philistine immediately “becomes at a dead end or gets a philosophy that is dull and evil, that it is only a hand to give up and move away.”

Since he could not find common topics for conversation with local residents, Dmitry Ionych began to get angry and more and more withdraw into himself. For the taciturnity and harsh appearance he was nicknamed in the neighborhood “Pole inflated.”

The only thing that has not ceased to interest the doctor, so it’s money and a game of screw in the evenings.

A letter from Vera Iosifovna burst into the measured life of the doctor. Turkina together with her daughter asked the doctor to visit them.

Having seen Ekaterina Ivanovna, the former lover noted changes in the girl. She noticeably lost weight and lost her childlike innocence in features. The old feelings did not wake up in him. He only thought to himself: how good that he did not marry her.

The girl confessed that she constantly thought about Dmitry Ionich, and asked him to tell him about his life. He reluctantly continues the conversation, he wants to leave. A nice family, which he used to be so cute, irritates him.

A few days later a waiter of Pava comes to the doctor to deliver a letter from Kotik, who is waiting with trembling for a meeting with Startsev. But Dmitry Ionych never visited a good-natured family: not in a few days, not a year later.

Chapter 5

A few years later, Startsev was more fattened and already walking with difficulty. His coachman Panteleimon was bored with him. Ionich, as he is now called in the city, has grown accustomed to two estates and looks after himself a third. He does not have enough time to practice medicine, but he does not abandon the zemstvo place because of greed. Ionich became very irritable, nervous and often screams at the patients, tapping his stick on the floor.

The doctor turned into a simple man in the street who does not care about anything but money. His feelings for Catherine Ivanovna were the only and last moment of joy in his life.

The Turkin family lives as before. Ivan Petrovich has not changed at all and still constantly sharpens. His wife still reads her incompetent novels to guests. Their daughter, Ekaterina Ivanovna, has aged considerably and complains of her health. Every year, with the advent of the autumn, Kotik and her mother go to the Crimea to improve their health.


In the story AP Chekhov raises the problem of gradual degradation of man. A young, talented doctor goes down with time and turns into a philistine. All his thoughts about high feelings disappear, and now he is interested only in the greed for profit. Money becomes the only joy in the life of the main character.

After reading the short retelling of “Ionych”, we recommend that you read the full version of the work.

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Summary of “Ionych”