The Lady with the Pet Dog

August 21, 2017 General Studies

When approaching the two stories of The Lady with the Pet Dog by Joyce Carol Oates and Anton Chekhov we learn of a much more comprehensive and interesting approach of how the two different writers have treated the issue of illicit affair between two married people than when each story is treated separately. Through superficial judgment, the stories seem to be opposing against each other in a diametrical way. The writing of Chekhov indicates his strict male perspective of showing his social world view of the imperial Russian society of 1899.

Oates on the other hand wrote from the perspective of a modernized educated woman of the United States of 1972. This was a time in the U. S when women were actively fighting for equality especially in social aspects which had for a long time been dominated by their male counterparts and also with the aim of dismantling the power structure dominated by the male. This paper will examine the points of similarities as well as the great differences presented between the works of by Joyce Carol Oates and Anton Chekhov in their stories The Lady with the Pet Dog.

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This story presents how one is able to read the stories either from a male or female perspective. The stories the Lady with the Pet Dog by Joyce Carol Oates and Anton Chekhov are two versions which have closely related plots about the love affair of two adulterers. The versions endings are also similar where by each couple in the stories comes to a discovery of true love. The connotations of the story are also very much similar and the difference depends on the point of view the reader chooses.

In both versions the stories are told from the opposite couple’s point of view or from the opposite characters because the intention of Oates was not to directly borrow from the original work written by Chekhov. Oates’s version of the story is the updated version of the earlier work by Chekhov in that she maintains most of the original characters in Chekhov’s story that were the characters of the 1800s. This is an aspect which is surprising about this later version because it is a story written at the time of sexual revolution and she did not hold a different view of adultery as it was in the past.

Oates’s version however adds a new subtext into the Chekhov’s version by making her protagonists for the first time to begin to love her (Oates 1938). In Chekhov’s story the main character Gurov is seen as callow and arrogant person and his attitude to the women around him is dismissal at the beginning of the story but these changes as he comes to discover true love for the first time in his life through another human being. This is after he had for a long time refereed to all women as people of an inferior race and he equally shows Anna Sergeyevna with the same attitude of being equally callous (Chekhov 1899).

The story of Chekhov is strictly written from the approach of the left-brain. His story is presented in a sequential manner which opens with Gurov coming to hear of Anna and how they met. We are told of their first encounter and intimacy and well as what they did together during holidays. Then we are told of their separation and them going back to their normal lives. Oates on the other hand writes her story in a nonlinear way because we are referred back to the historical past of Anna who is already married and her past lover appears.


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