What does the church that they sit near in Yalta (Oreander) represent in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog"?
When Chekhov published this story (1899), Russian Orthodoxy was still dominant and all-pervasive in Russian society. This means that virtually all Russians (seemingly all but not literally all) were deeply religious and held tightly to a religious moral code. Whether they kept the code was a different matter, as Chekhov points out through Anna's story.
The church appears about mid-way in the story, after Anna and Gurov have both succumbed to physical attraction. They left her room together into a "death-like air," then took "a cab and drove to Oreanda." It is here that they took "a seat not far...
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Two of the main themes of the book are Morals and the Meaning of Life, and Nature Vs. Man. In the sight of a church, all of those things come together. Is morality something natural? Or is it something to be learned in church?
The church is something man-made, one of the only visible things besides sea, mountains, and nature. The author may be asking if morality is something inside us, or is it something that comes from a church?