Who Was to Blame? │ Four Levels │ Summary │ English │ Anton Chekhov

Who Was to Blame?

Who Was to Blame? │ Anton Chekhov
- Anton Chekhov

Literal Comprehension:

'Who Was to Blame' is a story written by Anton Chekhov. In this story, the writer compared him with a little Kitten of only two months. In the writer’s childhood, his uncle was a teacher and teaches him the Latin language but he was unable to understand and learn that language.

In the writer's home, there were many mice, and it always disturbs his uncle. Rats tear his uncle's books and sometimes nibble the top of his hats. So, his uncle started to train his small kitten to catch the mouse.

The writer’s uncle bought a mousetrap, after buying mousetrap, he installed it in the home. The first evening, they got mouse trapped. Then his uncle gets the little kitten near the mouse. The writer and his uncle were gathered to see the kitten catching the mouse, but the kitten was too much afraid and ran away from there.

On the following days, the same situation occurs. And after seeing this behavior of the little kitten, his uncle becomes so much mad and threw the kitten away from him.

After one year the little kitten grew up to a giant tomcat. On the way to his house, he saw a mouse and again the same cat was afraid and running away. Seeing this the writer remembered his old childhood days and realized he was unable to learn the Latin language like Kitten unable to catch one of a mouse.

And here the story ends by asking us to decide, who needed to blame? Is it his uncle because his uncle forces the cat to catch the mouse unnecessarily or the cat needed to be blamed because it even can't perform its natural ability.


The main idea of this story is that we can't force somebody to learn what is beyond their interest. Though it was the honest nature of a cat to catch the mouse and digest it, it still can't perform its natural ability. It happens because the cat was not naturally ready to learn and still it needs to learn forcefully.

So, forcing somebody and creating pressure to learn new skills will never going to make a progress, but can deteriorate his built-in quality either.

Thus, the main theme from this story is that one must have full freedom to learn anything and that anything must fall under his interest and nature.

Who Was to Blame? │ Four Levels

Critical Thinking:

This story deals with the mental person's humor. This story conveys a great message regarding one's interest and the negative outcomes of practicing skills in a competitive environment. Yet I am not convinced totally.

I am criticizing the story with few questions. How could a cat not be able to catch a mouse? Is it not a natural ability of a cat to kill a mouse and eat it?

If the mouse is that disturbing, then why writer's uncle is not throwing it away or killing it after it got trapped?

Why writer's uncle is so obsessed with teaching something that is out of interest for his nephew? A teacher must be well educated, but in the story, he seems to be a total moron and dumb.


After reading this story, I realized that no one can learn out of his interest. To become really great at something, we should have a bold interest in those sorts of things.

Even the cat didn't like to catch the mouse and always gets afraid to go near of mouse. It happens because someone forces the cat to catch the mouse when it was not naturally able to perform it.

So, we also must consider the right time, the right situation, and the right environment to learn and practice skills or some sort of artistic things.

-- 𓐴𓐴𓐴 --

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