illustration of a man looking out a window at a woman in a hat and dress walking her little dog

The Lady with the Pet Dog

by Anton Chekhov

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In the story "The Lady with the Pet Dog" by Chekhov, what is the meaning of the hotel room?

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In "The Lady with the Pet Dog," Dimitry Gurov goes to the seaside in Yalta and ends up having an extra-marital affair with a woman named Anna.  He is a bit of a playboy and has causal flings with other women, but he never gives the activities a second thought.  He escapes from his wife, by himself, so he can vacation and have a good time, and he does.

Anna, the woman he meets, is needy and feeling unloved trapped in a disaster of a marriage, she engages in a love affair, reluctantly, with Gurov, but feels ashamed by her behavior.

The hotel room where Gurov and Anna have their affair is very special.  Gurov actually does not respect women, he does not believe in love, he thinks that it is just a fantasy, love is just a word.  Except, he falls in love with Anna and his entire perspective on life changes. The hotel room is a transformational place, where Gurov actually finds true love, something that he did not believe was possible.

Finding love in the hotel room with Anna brings both delight and pain.  Gurov looks at the world differently.

"Gurov is moved by the scene, thinking about how everything in the world is beautiful when reflected upon—everything except what people do when they forget the lofty aims of existence and their own human worth."

Gurov is so changed by his experience with Anna, that when he goes back home to Moscow, everything that he valued in his pursuit of entertainment feels stale and boring.

"Back in Moscow, Gurov exults in the winter scenery which reminds him of his youth, and enjoys the distractions of Muscovite society. He cannot, however, get Anna out of his mind, and begins to find himself disgusted with frivolous and repetitive conversation in clubs and restaurants with scenes of drunkenness and gluttony." 

He misses Anna terribly, longs to be with her, so that he wants to change his life to be with her.  He sees Anna again, in secret, but he wants their relationship to one day be public and open.

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