W O R L D
Analysis of Chekhov's "A Lady with A Dog"
By Terra Bredeson
Written in 1899, "A Lady with A Dog" is one of Chekhov's longer short stories. This story is a great indication of the social responsibility that marriage held in turn of the century Russia. The story is emotional and brings to life the loveless marriages that many couples found themselves in due to the nature of marriage.
Marriages were usually arranged by parents and set up as a sort of business deal. If not there were marriages because it was the proper and correct thing to do. Social standing was based on the ownership of a business or a high position in a firm. The amount of money you had placed you in society. A marriage to the right man or woman could not only place you in a higher social position but future children as well. "A Lady with A Dog" showed the unfortunate problems with a system of this type. Men and women ultimately told themselves they loved their significant other when realistically they had learned love for these people. The problem with marriages of this type, where the love is learned and not felt, is exactly what happened in this story. Two married people find themselves with out their significant other and falling in love, with feelings that did not have to be learned. This is the situation that Anne and Gurov find themselves in. A relationship that ultimately ends in divorce. These statements are not t say that the same situations do not arise during any other time in any other country.
The emotions this story brings forth with the vivid images and powerful scenes makes the story extremely enjoyable. To feel only pity for these two lovers who know what they are doing is wrong, is impossible. A feeling of helplessness may be correct, but only for a short duration of the story. I found myself wandering through the streets with Anne and Gurov, as well as searching and hoping to find a new way to live their lives. The separate journeys home to their families had me believe that this may be have been a short affair, but at the same time somewhat disappointed that these two people who obviously loved might never see each other again. As Chekhov described Anne and Gurov's months apart, the reader wanted to visit the other just as much as the characters wanted. The writing pulled the reader in to the story as though it was their own experiences and life that would be affected. I was almost shocked, as well as relieved, that after all the diligent attempts to say with their significant others that Anne and Gurov decided to do things their way and finally live by what they felt and not what they were taught. Ending their respective marriages and possibly disgracing themselves and their families,
Anne and Gurov took a chance to live their lives in complete happiness.
This story is a beautiful love from beginning to end about two people who do find their " soul mate". The internal information sheds light into turn of the century Russia. Marriage, society, love; all things that this story addresses in a very unconventional, yet extremely moving way, leaving somewhat of a black spot on the picture of Russian life and society.