Compare/contrast Chekhov & Oates approach to affairs in "The Lady with the Dog" & "The Lady with the Pet Dog" to show similarity/difference. Show the most important decisions that the...

Compare/contrast Chekhov & Oates approach to affairs in "The Lady with the Dog" & "The Lady with the Pet Dog" to show similarity/difference. Show the most important decisions that the authors make in order to reveal to the reader what they consider important about the affairs.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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A comparison of Chekhov's and Oates' authorial approaches to constructing the nature of the affairs in "The Lady with the Dog" and "The Lady with the Pet Dog," respectively,  reveals that there is a most important similarity in what the authors decided to do and a most important difference.

The most important similar decision the two authors make is to reveal the profound emotional and psychological affects of the affairs on the women. Chekhov describes very powerfully how his Anna was still wrapped in the "diffidence" of "inexperienced youth" and of how her loosened hair "hung down mournfully" and of how she was "dejected," as "though it were her fall." She speaks of needing forgiveness and of how the world now has the right to despise her--of how Gurov will now despise her. In a similar vein, though with a different psychological dynamic, Oates describes how her Anna is driven to thoughts of ending her life because she finds the repetition in which she is caught unbearable and because she longs for a marriage to the man she truly loves.

The most important different decision the two authors make is how to end the stories. Chekhov ends with Anna in dire psychological pain and spiritual depression caused by great inner suffering as she blames herself for spiritual and moral failure. The final scene has Anna and Gurov in a modest hotel room in Moscow sharing a commitment to "think of some plan" to end the secrecy and deception and the long separations--but "How? How?...How?" Oates end her story with her Anna turning away from impulses toward self-destruction and having an epiphany of how she and her lover have a true marriage of hearts and of how that was a sublime and wonderful truth.

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