The Lady with the Pet Dog Questions and Answers
by Anton Chekhov

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What is a feminist criticism of the story "The Lady with the Dog" by Anton Chekhov? Explain how and why the feminist mode of criticism could help talk and write about this story. What issues in the story are women's (feminist) issues?

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Chekov's story is about male desire. One possible feminist interpretation of the story would be to evaluate Dmitri's attitude toward women and why it is that he thinks of them as "the lower race" while also being obsessed with them. This interpretation would pay attention to Dmitri's relationship to his wife, who is a forbidding older figure, his emotional immaturity, and the way in which his "gaze" (the story begins with him seeing Anna walking her dog) constructs the woman as an object of desire.

This desire has little to do with Anna, who herself is married—she becomes an object onto which can project his own insecurities. For instance, Dmitri considers that Anna "was a schoolgirl" like his daughters not so long ago, which is a reflection more on his own immaturity than anything else. Similarly, his observation that there is something "pathetic" about her can be read as a comment about his own emotional state. After their affair begins and Anna expresses regret, Dmitri is "bored"...

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