Chekhov's genius lies in marrying his theme of disunity with a harmonious authorial style. We never lose sight of the text's central focus, which is the changeable fortune and emotions of its characters. Ultimately, the "ravine" of the story's title symbolizes the sense of entrapment that overshadows many human lives. Perversely, only the peasants who work to pull in the harvest seem liberated from this tyranny. Chekhov leaves his readers to decide whether his image of Lipa singing "with her eyes turned upward to the sky, breaking into trills as though triumphant and ecstatic that at last the day was over and she could rest" is the ultimate renouncement of middle class ambitions, or a denigration of those who are satisfied with life's meager opportunities.