The versions of the “The Lady with the Pet Dog” by Anton Chekhov and Joyce Oates are considered different largely due to the fact that the authors took different perspectives in narrating the story. The earlier maximized on the guy’s point of view, thus providing a clear interpretation of his actions, while the latter focused on the woman’s. However, in general, the story spoke of the same two persons and a dog; a man and a woman, both within the sanctity of marriage taking a vacation, meeting each other and getting into a dalliance.
Then again, the authors showed different realizations from the man and the woman at the end of the story. Another main difference that can be observed, if one reads both stories, is the illustration of the personality of the female character, Anna Sergeyevna.. In Chekhov’s account, she was barely described, so simplified, typical, one can only see her through Gurov’s perception of her, if not for her major participation as Gurov’s mistress she might as well be just one of the women generalized in the story.
Thus, after reading the story, one would definitely identify her as just the lady with the pet dog. On the other hand, although Oates took the view of the female character, she did not maximize on the actions, rather on what Anna feels; her inner emotions. Thus, she was able to show the female protagonist as having a hysterical character, has suicidal tendencies, full of self-loathing and with a melodramatic self-image. It was also shown in this version what seemed to be almost neglected in the original narration, the female protagonist’s thoughts of the situation she was in.
If one would observe how Anna reacted on the circumstance based on Chekhov’s narrations, it would be unclear how she felt about what was happening. One may somehow recognize the struggles but not to the extent of truly identifying with her. In fact, it may be possible to jump to a conclusion that she was not tremendously affected by the obviously wrong conduct that they were doing. As can be seen in the situation where Gurov went to visit her, she was described as astonished about his sudden appearance but showed no remorse for they continued their escapades and promised to meet discretely (Gioia, 1998).
This can be misleading for readers may interpret her reaction as a complete acceptance of the situation they were in. However, in Oates’s account, it can be seen and felt how much Anna was confused about the situation. The conflict inside her was clearly illustrated which made it easy to relate with her struggles. Thus, it can be understood why she had inclination to end her own life. Moreover, being able to focus on her perception makes readers understand that she actually desired for things to be in the right place. She wanted her marriage to be better so that things would be corrected.
This confusion was emphasized more by Oates’s circular presentation of events, which made it seem like it was actually the main idea of the story. Moreover, in the depiction of the characters, one can see how the Gurov of Chekhov’s version and Anna of Oates’s story have quite different perceptions of marriage and adultery. Through Chekhov’s, we identify that the main protagonist do not think highly of his marriage, staying within it but not respecting its real essence. It has actually became instrumental in perpetuating his quest for women, thus, adultery can be said as a second nature to him.
On the other hand, we learned through Oates that Anna has fair regards to her marriage, which made her feel guilty about her affair with Gurov. She was not comfortable with adultery the same way that her partner was; therefore, she had to deal with her conscience throughout the story. (Fulford, 2004). Further differences unfold at the end of each story. On Chekhov’s note, since it was on Gurov’s view, he presented how he realized that he can actually still find true love; that despite the fact that he despised women in general, here is a woman who was able to show him that he can still feel that form of affection.
On the other hand, Anna also found love at the end of Oates’s story, however, it was a different one for it was a love for herself. It was an acceptance of what she is and what she has become in loving “the stranger”, which made her acknowledge that she cannot live without him and that her marriage would not be able to keep her from being with him. Through this realization, it showed that she has finally decided to take the path that would make her happy, disregarding other matters, just making a decision that would satisfy her needs and wants. Her identity has been found and she has learned to love it (Edrich, 2003).
If profoundly analyzed, one would identify that the theme of both stories revolve on the stereotypical idea of love, marriage and adultery. Men tend to find love on another person, often on women, while women always seem to be lacking self-acceptance which translate to not loving themselves; women has higher respect and gives more importance to marriage as compared to men and society seems to have a better acceptance of men being adulterous but women are judged awfully for it. As a matter of fact, men who commit adultery are at times admired but women are abhorred for doing so.
The story is somewhat an illustration of society’s double standard. Chekhov was a genius in coming up with a story with a theme like this and the way that he presented it was very exceptional. Oates should also be commended for her brilliance in making an interpretation of the woman’s character. Thus, even though these are different stories, they are able to present different perspectives and understanding of issues that are rampant in the society but are not often addressed. I cannot completely decide on which of the versions is better because both have their own merits, although I have a slight inclination to the original.
Perhaps, a good deciding factor would be to which character one could relate to, the man or the woman? Works Cited: Edrich, M. M. (2003). The Lady with the Pet Dog Essay. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from: http://www. edrich. us/files/own/c_engcheckhov. pdf Fulford, R. (2004). Surprised by Love: Chekhov and “The Lady with the Dog”. Queen’s Quarterly, 111, 300+. Goioa, D. (1998). Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Lady with the Pet Dog’. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from Ecclectic Literary Review: http://www. danagioia. net/essays/echekhov. htm
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