The Lady With The Pet Dog
In reading the short story The Lady With The Pet Dog by Anton Chekhov and A Respectable Woman by Kate Chopin one can see key similarities of the two works. The short story by Anton Checkov deals with a man and a woman who are both married but regardless of this fact they fall in love with each other and have a secret affair. The short story by Kate Chopin deals with a married woman who is tempted to have an affair with one of her husbands friends, but she resist unlike the characters in The Lady With The Pet Dog. Both of the works deal with the fact that each of the characters are involved in committed relationships, but they are tempted to cheat in their relationships. The characters in the short story The Lady With The Pet Dog fall in love with each other and have an affair regardless of the fact that both of the individuals are married. A lady arrives in town with a little white dog, which would give her her name initially since no one knew of her true identity. “She walked along, always wearing the same beret and always with the white dog no one knew who she was and everyone called her simply ‘the lady with the pet dog'”(194). The man that has an acute interest in this young woman is named Dmitrich Gurov who is married with a daughter twelve years old, and two sons away at school. He is dissatisfied to say the least with his present situation and his marriage to his wife. “…while he privately considered her of limited intelligence, narrow-minded, dowdy, was afraid of her, and did not like to be at home”(294). This man would often cheat on his wife because he is unhappy and thought very little of his wife. “He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago-had been unfaithful to her often and, probably for that reason, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked of in his presence used to call them ‘the inferior race'”(194).
When this man seen a new woman in his town he decides to introduce himself and find out about the lady with the pet dog. As the two of them become closer and closer the relationship becomes more serious. They often walked in the park together which made their friendship grow stronger each day. “…afterwards he meet her in the square several times a day”(193). After many acquaintances and talks he learns that this woman grew up in Petersburg and married two years previously. “In the evening when the wind had abated they went out on the pier to watch the steamer come in”(195). He soon learns that her name is Anna Sergeyevna. Also she will be staying in Yalta for about a month and she is there to take a well needed rest away from her husband, as he is in need of one too.
He begins to make passes at her that she didn’t notice at first such as offering to buy her a soft drink or some ice cream. “…Gurov often went into the restaurant and offered Anna Sergeyvna a soft drink or ice cream”(195). As they grow closer they finally go far beyond the limits of a friendship. “Then he looked at her intently, and suddenly embraced her and kissed her on the lips, and the moist fragrance of her flowers enveloped him at once he looked round him anxiously, wondering if anyone had seen them”(196). This sudden move was truly unexpected from the both of them and Gurov was afraid that someone would see them together for he is married as she is too and this is not tolerated in marriage. He is truly crossing the line and realizes that it is dangerous to be with Anna in public, because someone could see them. Anna felt tremendously guilty after this kiss from another man besides her husband. “‘It’s not right,’
she said. ‘You don’t respect me now, you first of all….’God forgive me,’ she said, and her eyes filled with tears. ‘It’s terrible'”(196). Although she felt horrible she felt just in her actions because of the way that her husband has treated her. Events like these continue on for weeks, up until the day it is time for Anna to go back home to her husband. “…a letter came from him saying that he had eye-trouble, and begging his wife to return home as soon as possible. Anna Sergeyevna made haste to go”(198). She is truly not ready to leave the companion that she has met and fell madly in love with in her short stay in Yalta. “‘It’s a good thing I’m leaving’, she said to Gurov. ‘It’s the hand of Fate”‘(198). As much as she hates to leave her newly acquired friend she knows it’s best for the both of them. They are both married and this type of behavior can’t be tolerated. “We are parting forever-it has to be, for we ought never have met”(198). She was going out of his life forever he thought, all he has left are sweet memories of his young loving companion. “And his memories glowed more and more vividly”…..(199). It seems as though he can’t get Anna off of his mind even though she has been away for several months now. “When he shut his eyes he saw her before him as though she were there in the flesh, and she seemed to him lovelier, younger, tenderer than she had been…”(198).
He can no longer be without her and he decides to go and find the woman that he misses and loves so much. He is terribly unhappy when she leaves and he continues to be unhappy with his family and wife. “He was fed up with his children…In December during the holidays he prepared to take a trip. He wanted to see Anna Sergeyevna and talk with her, to arrange a rendezvous if possible”(200). He finally meets with her at an orchestra, but she is with her
husband so he has to secretly meet with her. During intermission her husband leaves the theater, and Gurov makes his move to go and talk to her. Anna was truly shocked to see Dmitrich and was frightened that he has shown up while her husband is around. “She glanced at him and turned pale, then looked at him again in horror, unable to believe her eyes, and gripped the fan and the lorgnette tightly in her hands, evidently trying to keep herself from fainting”(202). She agrees to visit him in Moscow, but he must leave her at once before her husband returns and sees the two of them together and becomes suspicious of this stranger that is talking to his wife. “I will come see you in Moscow”(202). After the meeting in Moscow both of them agree to visit each other regularly. The love and friendship they share those short few weeks is a bond that couldn’t be broken. “And Anna Sergeyevna began coming to see him in Moscow”(202).
The character in the short story A Respectable Woman is a housewife that is happily married unlike the man and woman in The Lady With The Pet Dog. This woman is pleased with her husband and home environment and has no intentions of cheating on her husband. Her husband invites one of his college friends that he has told his wife so much about to visit for a few weeks. He is a very busy man and needs a rest away from his work so he can relax and enjoy himself. From the stories that her husband has told her she formed a picture of him in her head and from this visualization she dislikes this man. “But she had unconsciously formed an image of him in her mind”(205). Although when the man actually comes to visit she takes a liking to him and realizes what she thought before not to be true of this man at all. “And she rather liked him when he first presented himself”(205). What her husband has told her didn’t match up with this man that appears before her when he arrives. After the man arrives she truly is surprised at what the man is actually like. The man is not as much trouble as she expects and she begins to take a liking to this college friend of her husbands. “Gouvernail’s personality puzzled Mrs. Baroda, but she liked him”(206). She didn’t know what to think of this man who didn’t speak much and makes no direct contact with her except the occasional hello or good evening. Mrs. Baroda has mixed feelings about this man who had come to visit her husband.
“She had never known her thoughts or intentions to be so confused”(206). One night while sitting outside on a bench Governail comes and sits down with her for a talk and to deliver a white scarf her husband has sent. While the two of them sit down for a talk she fells strongly attracted to this man. It seems as if she wants to reach out and touch him, and have him hold her closely in his arms. The strong impulse seems to overwhelm her but she resist. “The stronger the impulse grew to bring herself near him, the further, in fact, did she draw away from him. But she did not yield to temptation”(207). When the time is right she rises and leaves Governail outside on the bench by himself. She fells that she needs to get away from him, and stay somewhere else until he leaves her home. To get away from this temptation she leaves and goes to her Aunt Octavies until her husbands visitor would be gone and she would not have this awful temptation to be with this man. When the two men awaken the next morning she is already gone to her Aunt’s house. She has escaped this terrible temptation that overwhelmed her that night on the bench outside and wouldn’t have to worry about it again.
In conclusion the similarities of theses two stories is remarkable. Both of the works deal with committed people in relationships that are tempted to be with someone other than their spouse. In one of the story’s the spouse resist the temptation and in the other the temptation is far too great and can’t be resisted. Although in both of the works the temptation to cheat is present and greatly considered.