Chekov's the Lady with the Toy Dog

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To be driven by intense love for someone seems like an ideal life to lead in concept. We wish for it. We imagine that people who share this kind of love are somehow happier than we are. We want more passion, more emotion, more excitement in our lives. We think it will make us feel more fulfilled. Gomov made love to many women who enjoyed his company, but he fell for one who was miserable with her feelings for him. Considering that they are both married to others makes it that much more tragic. The concealment of their affair is torture. Their lives are the complete opposite of happily ever after. In the end there is no miracle, no lesson, no ironic twist. Like many of the stories in this collection, it just ends with no resolution. The one emotion that was missing from their lives has been realized, and it turns out to be a more of a punishment than a reward.

The rhythm of the piece was hypnotic. I obsessed over Anna as the narrator obsessed over her. The writing was rich with description, and the words were melodic. It really sounds like someone falling in love. He seemed to really feel alive when he was with the object of his desire – and only then. That confused me because he stated earlier in the story that he considered women inferior. I don't think he really believed that. He also stated that he felt most comfortable in the company of women. Perhaps he made his original statement about women to give himself permission to have affairs without guilt. He could enjoy the affair as long as it still excited him and leave them when it became bothersome. The way he described the typical evolution of his affairs sounded very real to me. I imagine that most men feel similarly.

I have always been entertained by stories about characters who lead double lives. It usually makes them more interesting to me, but in this case it did the opposite for Anna. She continues to despair about her love for Gomov – the same old tune over and over again...
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