Chekhov vs. Feminism

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Chekhov vs. Feminism
In The Lady with a Pet Dog, Chekhov presents a chauvinistic tale of a chance encounter. While the short story is told from a passive third person perspective, upon close examination it is apparent that Gurov and Anna fell in love for different reasons. These reasons reflect the mentality that defined Chekhov’s world; Russia at the turn of the century. This is a time, like most in humanity’s historical past, in which pro-feminist mentalities were lacking and society was run by men. Readers are presented with a classic transformation of the main character, Dmitri Gurov. The transformation reflects a male-dominant society, and the phases of the transformation focus on Gurov and are thus chauvinistic. Gurov and Anna met in Yalta. They were both on vacation. But from the start, the chance encounter was a bit of a ‘hunt’ for Gurov. He had been in Yalta for two weeks, and had just started taking an interest in new arrivals to the scenic tourist destination. That is when he spotted young Anna, and his masculine lust began. Anna was always walking alone, wearing a white beret with a matching white Pomeranian. Gurov reflected: “If she is here alone without husband or friends, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to make her acquaintance.” This is the first spoken dialogue in the story, and it alludes to the persuit that shortly followed. Leon 2

Dmitry Gurov persued Anna in a stereotypical chauvinistic manner. At the beginning of the story, it was going to be a standard affair. Older man sees young girl, older man lusts after young girl, old man reels in young girl with intellect and charm. His mentality was reflected early on in his mindset regarding his wife. He didn’t believe that his wife was that intelligent, and for that matter referred to all women as “an inferior race”. This mentality was not unique to Mr. Gurov. Around the turn of the century, it was common for marriages to be arranged by parents and set up as a sort of business...
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