Perception in Chekhov's the Cherry Orchard

Perception of Reality in The Cherry Orchard and The New Villa

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” – Philip K. Dick

Perception of reality is a major motif in a multitude of Chekhov’s works. Many of Chekhov’s works feature characters that both compare and contrast with one another. Through characters like Lyubov Ranevskaya and Lopakhin of The Cherry Orchard, and the engineer, Kutcherov, and the villagers of “The New Villa”, Chekhov pokes fun at Russia’s inability to forget the past and adhere to the obstacles of the present.  
Lyubov Ranevskaya, a woman of the old aristocracy, finally returns to her homeland of Russia after five years of living in France.  However, her joyous return is marred by her family’s financial problems. Lyubov does not realize nor does she adapt to her current dilemma.  During Act I, Lyubov whimsically gives her money to a passerby, despite her daughter’s protests.  “Oh Mamochka”, Varya cries out, “the servants at home have nothing to eat, and you gave him [the passerby] a gold piece” (Chekhov 242). Additionally, Ranevskaya’s family goes as far as throwing a party at the end of the play even with so little money in their hands. Through these examples, the reader can easily see how out disconnected Lyubov is with reality.  
Contrasted with Lyubov’s nonsensical nature is Lopakhin’s practical one. With the Ranevskaya family in disarray and unable to do anything productive to help their predicament, Lopakhin offers the family solutions that may help solve their economic problems. He proposes to chop down the cherry orchard, giving Lyubov and her family a valuable amount of land.  If this land were put up for auction (His idea was actually to build daschas (sp.) or cottages on the cleared land to rent out to vacationers), the family would be able to make enough money to pay off their debts and move out of Russia. Lyubov however, immediately rejects this idea. To her, the cherry orchard is the embodiment...