30 pages 1 hour read

Anton Chekhov

The Lady With The Dog

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1899

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Important Quotes

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“It seemed to him that he had been so schooled by bitter experience that he might call them what he liked, and yet he could not get on for two days together without ‘the lower race.’”

(Page 569)

This profile of Gurov as a serial womanizer highlights his lifestyle and shows the habits that initially prompt his relationship with Anna. While his denigrating view of women seems to him justified, ironically, he keeps pursuing women despite his negative experiences with them and contrary to his stated view of women as lesser human beings.

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“He remembered these tales of easy conquests, of trips to the mountains, and the tempting thought of a swift, fleeting love affair, a romance with an unknown woman, whose name he did not know, suddenly took possession of him.”

(Page 569)

Setting the story in the seaside resort of Yalta, Chekhov initiates the major movement of the plot. Gurov finds that Yalta’s reputation for illicit romances spurs him to seek a quick and pleasant affair with Anna. His musings here suggest a situational irony—the contrast between the lightness of his expectations about Anna and the difficulties their love will outlast.

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“This must have been the first time in her life she had been alone in surroundings in which she was followed, looked at, and spoken to merely from a secret motive which she could hardly fail to guess. He recalled her slender, delicate neck, her lovely grey eyes.”

(Page 571)

Gurov anticipates the ease with which their relationship will progress as he reflects on his acquaintance with Anna. His initial admiration of Anna’s graceful features and beautiful eyes foreshadows how this admiration persists and grows throughout the story.