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Who was to Blame? – Four Levels | Adventures In English Vol II

Who was to Blame?

Unit: Three ( Humor and Satire )
Written By: Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860 – 15 July 1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theatre. Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: “Medicine is my lawful wife”, he once said, “and literature is my mistress.”

Literal Comprehension 

“Who was to blame”‘ is a beautiful story written by Anton Pavlovich Checkov. He was a Russian playwright and short-story writer who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history.He always tries to depict society as it is.This story deals with a mental person’s humor. In the story, the narrator compares his life with a little kitten. The writer of the story has made his uncle and little kitten as the main character and Praskovya, the maid as a female character.

The story begins with training the kitten to kill the rats as they used to disturb the uncle sometimes by nibbling the top of the hat and sometimes by nibbling the corner of the grammar book. In the course of training, the kitten was unable to catch the mice as it was difficult for it to match with the speed of little mice. The kitten was under the strict environment of rules and regulation of narrator uncles. Being several times failed in the uncle test and experiment, the uncle threw the little kitten away. Years passed, the thin frail kitten had turned into a solid and sagacious tomcat.

On the way to his house, one day he saw the same cat which still failed in its mission which made uncle realize the wastage of his precious time that he spent on training it. So does the narrator in the story never learn Latin English grammar as it was beyond his interest.


In this story, the writer might be trying to tell us that a creature cannot be trained forcefully as it is against their will to learn. To learn anything, a person must have a keen interest and early eagerness. In the course of time, it automatically gets adjusted with the environment and be practical to their duties and responsibility.

No creature can adjust in a strict environment as in the story too the little kitten was forced to catch the mice, which was beyond its mental and physical ability. So, as the narrator in the story also couldn’t learn Latin grammar as it was beyond his interest.

Critical Thinking

I like this story very much as it reveals the fact that no one can be trained forcefully. It is an interesting and knowledgeable story but I am unsatisfied with some parts of the story.

  • Does any cat run away when they see a rat in reality?
  • Is keeping a cat only the way to get rid of a rat?
  • How can a teacher not understand the feeling of a cat?


Before reading this story I used to think that a person can be trained with good skills, physically and mentally. But after reading this story I came to know that nobody can go beyond one’s interest. There are so many such things that creature adapt themselves to the change of time from nature. Such things are not to be taught by anyone.


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