Before attending this class, I would never imagine myself recommending a love story to others. Well, it’s not fair to say The Lady With The Dog is just a love story. It does involve two lovers who started as strangers and fell in love with each other. You definitely can see the spark of pure love from two characters in this story. However, don’t get too excited if you are an enthusiast of love stories, because it’s not a traditional love story. The two characters of The Lady With The Dog fell in love in a specific context that may challenge your definition of love. The background setting was designed by one of the greatest Russian writers – Anton Chekhov. Don’t worry about spoilers when you read this recommendation or any other one because Chekhov gave the story an open ending and left the blank for readers to fill. To be more specific, here are my reasons why you should read The Lady With The Dog.
First, it’s written by Anton Chekhov. It’s not sensible to judge a literary work based on the popularity of its author. I don’t recommend you to follow my example, but this was my real thought after knowing this story was written by Chekhov. To be honest, as an international student, I don’t recognize most authors of the works that I have read in this literature class, but I do know Chekhov. I have read The Chameleon, which is one of Chekhov’s most famous works, in middle school. Even though years have passed, I can still recall the criticism and the sarcasm that Chekhov wrote in The Chameleon. Therefore, I had a high expectation for this story before I started to read it. Once again, I don’t recommend you to judge a work by its author and pass too much knowledge about the author to his/her work because it may result in stereotypes and constrain yourself.
Second, it is a love story. Most readers, including me, can feel the purity of the love between two characters after reading this story. This magical effect should be attributed to the well-designed structure and abundant details. This story centered on changes, especially the change of the main character’s attitudes. The transition of attitudes doesn’t feel abrupt and unnatural because it undergoes different stages. In different stages of this story, Chekhov used various measures to depict the tiny changes happening inside the character’s mind. It could be an action; it could be a conversation; it could be a monologue in the character’s mind. Most of the time, when you read the story, you would feel like you are experiencing the same changes as the character did. There are passionate scenes when both characters unleash their desires. It also has peaceful scenes when both of them sitting at the waterfront, contemplating the sea without any interruption. I really wish that I could join them at that very moment and froze the time to keep it that way forever. Why? That leads to my third reason.
As I mentioned before, The Lady With The Dog is more than a love story. In contrast to the changes that happened to the main character, what Chekhov really wanted to emphasize was things that didn’t change. It’s easy to change one person’s mind, but it’s impossible for a thousand or even more people’s minds. There are certain deep-rooted obsolete ideas in everyone’s mind. It is ironic because most of the time, we actually know that they are outdated, but we still unconsciously follow those ideas because it provides a feeling of safety to us. Following the classical one, choosing the medium one, taking the path that has been selected by the majority. It may not be the best choice, but it can’t be wrong. That’s how we persuade us, and that’s how we imprison ourselves. Because of this, the character in the story struggled and hesitated even though he was one step away from his true love.
What I have shared in this recommendation may not be what Chekhov really wanted to convey. The point is it’s unnecessary to spend all of your time trying to figure out what Chekhov was thinking about in decades ago, especially when you find your own way to interpret it when you sense your unique vibe to resonate with the story. For me, I am at a crossroads of my life. One path leads to a certain, promising future to work as an accounting professional. It is widely recognized as a decent path and has little uncertainty, which attracts most of my classmates but no longer excites me. Another one is a path to a relatively strange area based on my current knowledge and experience. Even though I can’t penetrate the mist on this path, I can sense the thrill surging in my vein and circulate my body. Which path should I choose to proceed with? I already had my answer before reading this story, and I am more certain about my choice now.
If you feel confused about what I am saying or if you are curious about what really happened, don’t hesitate, read the story right away.