The Lady with the Pet Dog Summary
by Anton Chekhov

The Lady with the Pet Dog book cover
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The Lady with the Pet Dog Summary

"The Lady with the Pet Dog" is a short story by Anton Checkhov in which Dmitry Gurov meets a lovely woman named Anna at a seaside hotel. Gurov falls in love with Anna, and they have an affair.

  • Alone on holiday, Gurov meets a gentlewoman named Anna.

  • Despite his contemptuous and sexist attitude toward all women, Gurov falls in love with Anna, and they have an affair. At the end of the summer, they part ways.

  • In Moscow, Gurov assumes that he'll forget about Anna. He doesn't, so he seeks her out and they eventually rekindle their love and find some happiness together. 

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Summary

The story begins at a resort in Yalta. Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov is a married Moscow banker on holiday. He notices a younger, attractive woman with a Pomeranian; she, too is a solo traveler on vacation.

Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov approaches the woman to begin an affair, something he has done many times. He and his wife have children, but he is unfulfilled in the marriage and suffers no guilt as a philanderer.

Anna Sergeyevna, the woman with the pet dog, is also in an unfulfilling marriage; hers is to a much older man. However, once she begins the affair with Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov, she is troubled with complicated feelings of guilt and shame mixed with love and desire for Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov. When she is called home because her husband is having health problems, the lovers part company, and Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov writes off their affair as another ordinary dalliance.

However, Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov finds that upon his return to Moscow, he often thinks about Anna Sergeyevna. He travels to her city, stakes out her home, and finds a way to run into her in a theater. Their connection is still strong, and Anna Sergeyevna soon begins traveling to meet him in secret in Moscow.

The lovers become devoted to one another, and their affair turns into a genuinely loving relationship. As the story ends, they are in a conversation about how they need to find a way to be together permanently, but is clear that they understand that, in 19th-century Russia, this will be difficult.

Summary

The story involves a love affair between two married people: Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna. Both are unhappily married, and a chance meeting inspires an unlikely romance between the two.

Gurov is married to a woman he considers unintelligent, narrow-minded, and dogmatic; he and his wife have a twelve-year-old daughter and two school-aged sons. Meanwhile, Anna is married to a man who shares little of his life with her. She feels trapped and unhappy.

At the beginning of the story, we learn that Gurov and Anna are both vacationing in Yalta without their spouses. Gurov first notices Anna because of her white Pomeranian dog, who follows closely behind her.

Gurov has always been fascinated by young, vibrant women who are grateful for their brief, passionate affairs with him. By all indications, Gurov has little respect for his transient lovers; they are merely an entertaining distraction in his otherwise dull life.

However, Anna seems to affect him differently. After both of them consummate their love affair, Anna feels guilty. She is grief-stricken that she has betrayed her husband and conscience. Above all else, she fears that Gurov will cease to respect her.

Gurov is amused by Anna's puritan outlook, but he does not relinquish his time with her. Both of them continue to spend time in each other's company until Anna's husband sends a letter beseeching her to return home.

Anna is grateful for her husband's summons, and she bids an emotional farewell to Gurov, believing that she will never see him again.

In due time, Gurov returns to Moscow, where he lives with his family. He throws himself into his work duties and revels in everything the cosmopolitan city has to offer. However, Gurov soon realizes that he is deeply unhappy. He is tormented by memories of Anna, and as the days progress, he begins to despise the coarseness of the city and the dullness of his family life.

Gurov soon comes...

(The entire section is 2,299 words.)