A semiotic anal ysis of A. Che kho v’ stor y “The fro st”: a narrative approach

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2015, Vol. 1. №1(1)

A semiotic anal ysis of A. Che kho v’ stor y “The fro st”: a narrative approach

About the author:

Pierre Marillaud, Dr. of Linguistics, Associate Researcher of the Laboratory “Semiotics Mediation”, University Toulouse-Jean Jaurès (France); p.marillaud.cals@orange.fr


The author has chosen for his semiotic analyses A. Chekhov’s story “The Frost”, translated into French Edouard Parayre and revised by Lily Denis and Claude Frioux. This story might seem quite banal as it does not reflect any remarkable event, it centers around an ordinary open air feast of «Babtism» in the provincial Russian town on a frosty day of January 1887. The author starts from the thesis of interrelation of the explicite and the implicit in any fictious narration, whaterver degree of banality it might reveal. The setting of the story might also seem banal for it traditionaly renders the initial deictic categories of space, time and personages, as well as a starting event. All these elements are specified by A. Greimas as «textual organization», as temporal and spacial disjunctions, that roll the text into one unity. This point is the major focus of the analysis. Space-time relations are tackled as dependant upon the category of intertextuality for the initial biblical allusion to the religious feast of babtism opens the story for readers. The author arrives at the conclusion that an indirect, implicit revelation of the narrator’s point of view through the chain of isotopies, as well as through the chain of argumentative logical hooks and structurally similar predicates makes Chekov’s ideosttyle close to those of G. De Maupassan and G. Flaubert. Such textual markers as «verbal regulators» reveal that the formal logics does not function in Chekhov’s text. Its logics is close to the oral discourse with its non-verbal means of communication. In this story lexical usage, chains of isotopies, that outline speech portraits of personages function as logical hooks. The author states that isotopies of the two planes: euphoric and dysphoric are rooted in the same semantic field (of frost) thus serving as logical connectors. According to the author’s discovery , the same isotopie in Chekhov’s story can be axiologically opposite due to the point of view either of a personage or of the narrator. This in its turn preditermined the ironic tonality of the story.