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Gurov is the center of interest of the limited third-person point of view, with his background, interests, thoughts, self-reproaches, and observations being reported by the narrator, who seems consistently to be sympathetic to him. Initially Gurov is in the grips of ennui, a womanizer who holds women in contempt. His alteration because of his increasing love and obsession for Anna is responsible for the compelling nature of the story. Chekhov’s characterization of Anna Sergeyevna is less well developed than that of Gurov, but he does succeed in showing her as a woman living in the aftermath of having made a marriage commitment very early in her life, perhaps too early. Both characters embody an idea of love’s progress: from infatuation to obsession to love. Chekhov brings out the thoroughness of the love between the two in paragraphs 119–126. Thematically, the story treats the topic of the nature and power of love. Gurov embodies a number of attitudes, ranging from sexual excitement and involvement, to boredom and disentanglement, to his ultimate infatuation, obsession, love, and commitment. Of great interest is that this love does not solve problems, but rather creates problems for Gurov and Anna to solve, in keeping with the ultimate power of the love that the two develop for each other.
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