Exposition: This story takes place in Russia, but a specific time is not given. The main character is a young man named Vanya who is a student. His mother also plays an important part in this short story.
Rising Action: Vanya wakes up, prays, and goes to his exam. He is very nervous so he prays and kisses holy images a lot.
Climax: Vanya comes home and tells his mother that he basically failed his Greek exam and she is very angered.
Falling Action: Vanya gets beaten by their landlord.
Resolution: The idea is that Vanya will be taught to focus more on his studies and do better.
This takes place at the main character's house, presumably in Russia. The time period is not indicated.
analyses of main characters
Vanya: He is a student who is very religious based on the fact that he prays and kisses holy images before his exam. After he gets a bad grade, he becomes very depressed and even more nervous because of his mother's pending reaction. It is possible that he is nervous because this has happened before, and he knows that he will get beaten. ". . . I am a miserable person. . . . I was working all night. . . I've been getting up at four o'clock all this week . . . ." ("A Classical Student")
Mamma: She is very concerned about Vanya's grades, and becomes very upset when she finds out that Vanya got a bad grade on his exam and asks the landlord to beat him because she is too weak. "No, it's not you but I who am miserable, you wretched boy! It's I that am miserable! You've worn me to a threadpaper, you Herod, you torment, you bane of my life!" ("A Classical Student")
Yevtihy Kuzmitch Kuporossov: He is the landlord or "lodger" who is a good friend to Vanya's mother. He is asked to beat Vanya after Mamma finds out that he gets a bad grade on his Greek exam. He could possibly represent Chekhov's father who was abusive during his childhood. "It's the only way to deal with you." ("A Classical Student")
The theme of this story stems from Chekhov's childhood. His father was abusive so Chekhov would have known what it was like to be beaten and abused. The theme is interpreted to be this: don't let oppression break you. Chekhov was abused and he went on to be successful in his life so one should not let oppression break them very easily.
The Beating: The beating symbolizes two things. First, it symbolizes Chekhov's childhood as he was abused as a child/ Second, it symbolizes his triumph and success. Even though he was abused as a child, he went on to be very successful.