How is Anna differnt in Oates' The Lady with the Pet Dog than in Chekov's The Lady with the Dog?
Joyce Carol Oates' Anna in "The Lady with the Pet Dog" corresponds in many ways to Anton Chekhov's Anna in "The Lady with the Dog," but just like Oates added a word to the title, she added a thing or two to Anna's character traits. First both Anna's are away from their husbands for awhile because both are disappointed with their marriages. Chekhov's Anna (C-Anna) goes to a public recreation place for a vacation whereas Oates' Anna (O-Anna) goes to a secluded family beach house.
This not only reflects cultural differences between countries and time periods, it also lends a different psychology to the Annas. C-Anna is still a public wife and searching for a public way to incorporate her role of wife with her private inner self; it is inevitable that any introductions or acquaintanceships will begin with her identity as a wife. Whereas, O-Anna seeks a private retreat that shows her concern is adjusting to her private agony stemming from an unhappy marriage and founded on private inner self-doubt and insecurity. On the other hand, C-Anna only feels self-doubt and insecurity after she has succumbed to the affair and has disappointed herself morally.
O-Anna becomes suicidal during the loss of and even the resumption of the affair because of her private inner feelings underpinning her marital unhappiness. C-Anna gives into despair because she has failed morally as well as having sorrow at her separation from Gurov on top of her public sorrow at a badly chosen marriage. In other words, the psychological make up of the two women is different: O-Anna's psychological reality has roots in personal inadequacy, whereas C-Anna's has roots in failing herself morally.
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