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Firs, the old, faithful servant, is again seen in this act. Always concerned about his master's wellbeing, he enters to bring Gaev an overcoat. Like Gaev and Lyobov, Firs is a symbol of the old order. Whenever he speaks, it is to reminisce about the past, and he has great difficulty accepting any change. In contrast to Firs, Trofimov, the perpetual student and tutor, is presented again. With his creative philosophic ideas, he is a symbol of the new age. He launches into a lecture on the progress of humanity that even Lopahin cannot agree with. The group discussion at the shrine is finally interrupted by a mournful sound, like that of a breaking harp string; like Epihodov's earlier song, it seems to foreshadow the sad turn of events to come.
When everyone but Anya and Trofimov leave the shrine, she is happy to be alone with him. She clearly looks up to Trofimov and admires his lofty thoughts. She listens intently as he talks about the laboring and suffering of humanity. He also advises her to have no regrets when she is forced to leave the cherry orchard; he feels it is good to be as free as the wind. As the two of them are talking, Anya hears Varya, her protective sister, calling out to her. She suggests to Trofimov that they go down to the river to escape Varya.
By the end of the second act and with little action, the conflict has been clearly established, the theme of change has been developed, the major characters have displayed their true beings, and the setting has become symbolic. It is obvious that Chekov is a masterful dramatist.