The Lady with the Dog

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Reading plays a very important role in the life of people. It educates a person, enriches his intellect. Books help to make a person’s character, from his moral values. Besides, books bring pleasure and delight in our life. It’s a wonderful way of spending spare time. Sometimes I read the same book again and again. Thanks to books I learn to express my thoughts and feelings more exactly. It can be put aside and taken up again at any moment. There are books and authors which have been our favorites since childhood. One of my favorite writers is Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. In my opinion, he is the greatest Russian dramatist and short-story writer.

I’m never tired of reading and rereading his plays and humorous stories. Not long ago I discovered one American short story with almost the same title as “The Lady with the Pet Dog”. The author is Joyce Carol Oates. The two versions of “The Lady with the Pet Dog,” by Anton Chekhov and Joyce Carol Oates are similar in the theme but the endings of the stories couldn’t be more different in connotation. The plot is love affair between two adulterers and the ending is each couple finally discovered true love. That difference is largely determined through the author’s choice in point of view.

Chekhov is from a male view and Oates from a female view. Both Anton Chekhov and Joyce Oates chose to tell the story using a third-person narrator. This is one of the most important aspects of the characterization. This subjective approach is found in third-person limited, a type of third-person subjective narration in which the perspective that of just one character. In that mode, the reader is “limited” to the thoughts of the focal character, as in the first-person mode. The narrators only describe events perceived and information known by a character. The stories read as though the viewpoint character were narrating it.

If other characters were allowed to appear more within either story, the reader would have more than likely had a different view of their affair. For example, if we read the story from the male point of view, we will look at affair by eyes of the men and Anna can be in less favorable and good shape and we may have seen the affair as dirty. Both authors want us to determine whose side we are going to be on and make a conclusion by ourselves. The “Lady with the Dog” is a very unique fiction story originally written by Anton Chekhov, a Russian writer born 1860. Also read Our Lady’s Juggler

His style of writing consisted of making his fiction realistic. The Lady with the Dog” was in my opinion a romantic drama type of fiction. The first scene takes places in Yalta where the two main characters meet Dimitry Gurov and Anna Sergeyevena. Both were trying to escape the unreal and loveless relationships of their spouses. Dimitry was older than Anna but he found her very attractive. He had watched Anna for several days. No one knew her name. She was known only as the lady with the pet dog. Finally he was given the chance to approach her in a public garden. Slowly the affair progressed to intimacy and they fell in love. Anna had to return home to her husband.

After Anna left, Dimitry could not deny his love for her. He went to Moscow to try and ease the loneliness he felt for her. They began to have an affair again not sure of what would come next. Joyce Carol Oates is an American writer who was raised in upstate New York. Also she is a writer who likes to write from a realistic point of view. In 1972 Oates revised the short story “The Lady with the Pet Dog” making it American and more modern. The dialogue is simpler. Also the time in which the story takes place is different. Unlike original version by Chekhov, Oates writes from the woman’s perspective.

She tells what Anna thinking and what she felt. Little is told of what the lover thinks and his life with his children. In Oates version the story starts off with the affair already in existence. The lover is never given a name and Anna is never given a last name. Similar to Chekhov, the name of Anna’s city isn’t told in order to protect her identity. Both are still unhappy with their spouses. This story starts off in the concert hall. Anna sees her lover but they never exchange words only glances unlike in the original version. Later he calls her on the phone and Anna and Dimitry make plans to meet each other.

Instead of introducing the characters to each other at the beginning of the story Joyce Carol Oates starts with the affair and lets Anna flashback to the day they met. She was in Nantucket visiting her sister. Anna’s lover was on the beach with his blind son and a small dog. Instead of a white Pomeranian, the dog was a small golden retriever. Dimitry lived just three houses down from Anna. His wife was away on business. They began to talk, shortly afterwards he began to sketch a series of pictures of Anna on a notebook he had brought with him using only a piece of charcoal.

While he was sketching her pet dog came and sat by her he began to sketch a portrait of her and the dog. When he was done he allowed her to choose the one she liked best. Anna chose the one of herself with the pet dog. In the original version Anna does not notice her lover first, she does not pursue him. The lover makes the first attempt to try and meet. Anna never lays eyes on any on his children. In Chekhov’s version she is named the lady with the pet dog because of the pet she has accompanying her. In Oates’ version at the end of the story Anna contemplates suicide.

She can’t stop seeing her lover but at the same time she blames him for her misery. She resents her lover and herself for being married to one man and loving another. He is sure of his love for Anna and is ready and willing to marry her. She refuses and decides to take her life to end the unhappiness and pain in her life. All of a sudden she gains a certain sense of thankfulness and gratitude. She is grateful to have him in her life no matter what will be the end of this affair. I am unsure if they decided to get married or just continue the affair.

In the original they decide to continue the affair but both are unsure of what they are going to do. I like Chekhov’s story because Anna is a pretty lady with dignity and proud. Anna in Oates story is not a strong woman. She talks about suicide and murder. It seems that it’s not the same woman we knew from Chekhov story. I did not like Oates story because she makes Anna look like simple women with out respect for her, a woman insane with love. Chekhov tells his story from eyes of a man looking at a beautiful woman. It is a very interesting how authors describe affairs and being unfaithful with different point of views.

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