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The Lady with the Pet Dog

by Anton Chekhov

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What are the settings in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog"?

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There are four settings in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog": (1) the sea at Yalta, (2) Anna's hotel room, including the sea-view seat in Oreanda and the hotel rendezvous.

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There are a number of setting locations in the story. The major ones are the sea at Yalta, Anna's hotel room, the seat by the church with the sea view in Oreanda, and the hotel rendezvous where Gurov and Anna have their last conversation.

The sea beach at Yalta is...

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important because it is where Gurov first sees Anna from afar and later meets her at the sea-side restaurant. This setting gives Anna a psychological dynamic of isolation and introspection. It also gives Gurov an opportunity to watch her voyeuristicly, building up psychological impetus to desire her.

Anna's hotel room is important because this is where Gurov and Anna take the first steps in melding their lives together in an intimacy neither have ever known before, as Anna says of her husband, "I know he is a flunkey! I was twenty when I was married to him." The sea-view seat in Oreanda is important because it is here that they feel the power of the symbolic emblems of nature that represent to them their lives and future: "the sea rising up from below, spoke of ... the eternal sleep awaiting us."

The hotel room where they rendezvous is important for several reasons. (1) The setting is the scene of the final resolution of the story, though not the resolution of their dilemma. (2) It is the symbolic representation of the psychological changes that have occurred in each of them, in Anna for the worse, in Gurov for the better. (3) It sets the situation that provokes in us questions about Gurov's sincerity and his ability to be longsuffering in working out their dilemma since he is not one to continue relationships:

every intimacy, which at first so agreeably diversifies life and appears a light and charming adventure, inevitably grows into a regular problem of extreme intricacy, and in the long run the situation becomes unbearable. But at every fresh meeting with an interesting woman this experience seemed to slip out of his memory, and he was eager for life, and everything seemed simple and amusing.

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Explain the settings in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog”?

There are two distinct settings in "The Lady with the Dog," by Chekhov: Moscow and Yalta. While things like Google Maps make it easy to figure out what these cities are like today, it is important to try and understand what these cities were like around the 1890's. "The Lady with the Dog" was published in 1899, and the turn of the century was a very specific time in Russian history.

Yalta was one of the most beautiful seaside spots in all of Russia, and it continues to be a popular destination today. I've attached a Pinterest link below that showcases a painting of the Yalta coast from 1890. While it is fairly simple, it provides an inside look into the simplicity and beauty that was felt by those who visited Yalta. 

In regards to Moscow, I've attached a link that features postcards from the 1890's in Moscow. When you review them, you notice that Moscow is stunning. Even in dingy black & white and sepia, Moscow is towering and awesome. The roads are relatively free of congestion, and the powerful architecture takes center stage. Indeed, Moscow was one of the most beautiful cities in existence at the end of the 19th-century.

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Explain the settings in Chekhov's "The Lady with the Pet Dog”?

The first setting is the seaside spa in Yalta.  The second setting is Moscow, when Gurov goes back home.  Then he tells his wife that he must go to St. Petersburg on business, but he goes, instead, to Anna's hometown, which is unnamed.

The story then shifts back to Moscow, where Gurov finds his life difficult to live without Anna.  The shifting setting is a backdrop for the affair that the main character has throughout the story.  He must hide this illicit affair from his wife and family. 

"Gurov has always taken women for granted and has treated them without compassion or respect. During the course of his affair with Anna, however, he becomes more and more concerned about the consequences of his actions."

"Chekhov's treatment of morality is complex; he is not conventionally moralistic, yet his story suggests a strong personal morality." 

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