All Russia is our orchard. The earth is so wide, so beautiful, so full of wonderful places. [Pause]. Just think, Anya. Your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors owned serfs, they owned human souls. Don't you see that from every cherry-tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every trunk, men and women are gazing at you? if we're to start living in the present isn't it abundantly clear that we've first got to redeem our past and make a clean break with it? And we can only redeem it by suffering and getting down to real work for a change.
Trofimov speaks these lines, in Act Three, to Anya. This is after Trofimov's speech on the virtues of work and his attack on the Russian intellectual. The purifying quality of suffering is a theme prevalent throughout much of Russian literature, but Trofimov yokes it to a faith in human progress and reason and a Social Darwinist attitude towards society to produce his utopian vision of the future. Trofimov thus reflects Chekhov's interest in Darwin's theory of evolution and Social Darwinist thought.
Trofimov, like Ranevsky, sees the cherry orchard as being a symbol of the past. But for Trofimov, the past was a time full of oppression and injustice, due to the institution of serfdom. In his hands, the images of cherry trees become threatening and ominous. The orchard is haunted by the ghosts of the past, and they are the ghosts of former slaves, not the pleasant ghost of Ranevsky's mother whom Ranevsky sees walking amidst the orchard's white blooms. For Ranevsky, the past is a place of refuge from a bitter and unkind present, whereas for Trofimov, the past is something that must be escaped from and left behind in order for progress to be made toward a better future.