The Lady with the Dog Response – Rachel Baique

2. This story is quite muted and understated for a story about a love affair. In what ways is it muted and understated? Why do you think that is?

In The lady with the dog, Anton Chekhov is discrete about Anna and Gurov’s love affair. Unlike other types of love stories involving affairs and explicit love scenes, Chekhov does not describe in depth romantic physical actions between Anna and Gurov. Without details, Anna and Gurov affair is considered to be muted or vague. In the beginning of the story, Gurov is described as an unfaithful man towards his wife in several occasions. “When he was company of women he felt free and knew what to say to them and how to behave; and he was at ease with them even when he was silent,” portrays him as a player (Chekhov, 1). Gurov, “almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them “the lower race”” (Chekhov, 1).  It seems as if Gurov does not care for women at all displaying to be a male chauvinist.

All of that changed when he saw Anna for the first time. “A romance with an unknown woman, whose name he did not know, suddenly took possession of him,” (Chekhov, 2). Anna and Gurov started going out on dates but do not have long conversations, except when she spoke to him about her unhappy life. “Gurov felt bored already, listening to her,” and he pretty much lets her continue with her monologue. He believes Anna is like any other woman he has been with. So far their love affair is muted. As days go by they create a bond but are discrete. Gurov begins to show more physical affection towards Anna in public. Anna decides to leave Yalta and when she does, Gurov cannot live without her. He goes after her and when they see each other; their feelings are strong but are hidden for the public and the reader.

Anna and Gurov are both married and are forbidden to be together yet they have an affair. Their relationship cannot be displayed because society will judge them. Putting that all aside I feel Gurov cares and loves Anna for her naïve attitude yet he does not want to involve himself sentimentally in order to protect Anna’s feelings.  Anna’s love for Gurov came natural and was not forced. She craved for his attention and love but at the same time resisted contact with him for respect towards her husband. Both Anna and Gurov will have to divorce in order to have a more cliché romantic passionate love. Until then their love connection will exist in silence.

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