Ward Six and Other Stories is a broad sample of Chekhov's narrative genius. The work has been viewed as a symbol for the bureaucratic quagmire of czarist and Stalinist Russia. It is also a universal comment on the person versus the state. Ward Six is a hauntingly symbolic depiction of the world of an insane asylum, an upside-down world where doctors ignore the sick, where hospital filth spreads infections. In The Duel, with its theme of moral degradation, two characters are locked in a confrontation and observers on the sidelines pass judgment. The essence of A Dull Story is the reflections of a man dying of old age. The Name-Day Party is the tale of a prominent professor who, despite his fame and success, is unable to emotionally connect with his wife and improve their troubled relationship.