Chekhov And Oates “The Lady With The Pet Dog” ComparisonThough the similarities and differences of characterization in Chekhov and Oatess different versions of The Lady with the Pet Dog are evident, the purpose only becomes clear for the reader when the two versions are read and compared. The stories have different settings, but the characters in the story remain the same. There is Anna, Dmitry, and their families. Although their families are mentioned, each member remains without any description and therefore they begin to seem almost unimportant.
Both Anton Chekhov and Joyce Oates chose to tell the story using a third-person narrator. This is one of the most important aspects of the characterization because if other characters were allowed to appear more within either story, the reader would have more than likely had a different view of their affair. For example, if Oates had allowed the reader to know Annas husband more intimately and definitely if the reader could read his thoughts, we may have seen the affair as dirty. We only see him trying to make love to her in an almost impersonally way. They never really cominicate, and his love for her is never shown with in the story, so the reader has no real reason to sympathize with him. Instead, Annas guilt seems sufficient, and her desire to be else where allows the reader to feels sorry for her and the fact that this love is what she perceives as her fate, we give her the sympathy and no longer see this affair as necessarily wrong.
Chekhov uses this same type persuasion to center the attention on Dmitry. In the story the reader immediately receives a negative view of Dmitrys wife by his description of her. He simply states that she was a tall, erect woman with dark eyebrows, stately and dignified and, as she said of herself, intellectual. She isnt described as beautiful woman and the statement that she thinks of herself as intelligent gives the reader the impression that she is arrogant and the description makes her sound hard and maybe even unloving. What would have happened though if Chekhov had allowed the wife to be a main character and showed her as loving him deeply and missing him while he was gone on his trips? The reader would have felt sympathy for her and this story may have become one simply of an affair and not one of love. This is why both authors used a third person narrator. This allowed a round character which the reader could sympathize with and even forget the sinfulness of his/her endeavors.
The major difference between the two stories is that Chekhov uses a male main character where Oatess chooses to look at the story from the female perspective.This gives us two totally different points of view. Through Chekhovs version the reader can see the masculinity and confusion involved in the relationship from a man’s perspective. Dmitry begins by describing women as the inferior race and then later in the story says this only to save face while drinking with friends, but thinks of her as above him. It shows the male confusion and struggle involved with realizing love and then finally the males total sacrifice for this love. Oates on the other hand shows a typical woman filled with different emotions. Anna experiences guilt, lust, and at times even a wish for death.Oates simply shows a female insane because of confusion and a woman that wants certainty and love. Chekhov on the other hand shows a male that at first denies his capability of loving his mistress and then falling completely in awe with her. Although the two authors took a different approach, both did a wonderful job conveying the reality of a persons, no matter if it be male or female, inner struggle with a secret love.
The story ends with each of the main characters in the different stories finally finding peace. In both stories this peace is found when Anna/Dmitry realizes that they are husband and wife, even if not by law, they feel they are through their love. This is where the characterization of the two characters seems to be one in the same. Chekhov is no longer conveying Dmitry as a self gratifying male and Oates is no longer describing Anna has a helpless and lost female. Instead the characters are each shown finding that they have had the happiness they wanted all along without realizing that they do not need others to confirm their love.
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