Plot Analysis of the Lady with the Dog

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In Anton Chekhov's "The Lady with the Dog" the exposition, or background information that's important to know for the story, is almost entirely given at the very beginning. Most importantly we learn that the protagonist of the story, Dmitri Gurov, disrespects females and, "almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them ‘the lower race,'" (Booth, Hunter, and Mays 218). This is important to know because it helps the reader understand how profound it is for Gurov when he realizes that he respects Anna. It's also necessary to know that this is not the first time that Gurov is not faithful to his wife: "He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago-had been unfaithful to her often," (Booth, Hunter, and Mays 218), and if we weren't given that information and thought that Anna was the first time that he was unfaithful than it would change the story as a whole. Instead we know that he has been with so many women, but none of them has affected him as Anna does. Not only do we learn that he is unfaithful to his wife but we learn exactly how he feels about her; he disrespects her as he does all women and he, "was afraid of her, and did not like to be at home" (Booth, Hunter, and Mays 218). This is necessary information, not only because it pushes him towards Anna, but if he is afraid of his wife than he is definitely not going to ask for a divorce. Without a divorce he can only continue seeing Anna in secret. We not only learn that he is married but that Anna is married as well, which adds further complications to their predicament. Another thing that is revealed, not quite as large but important just the same, is that Gurov has children; his daughter is especially important because he relates Anna to his daughter later in the story. Also Gurov's age group is given. He is under forty, and this pertains to the story because he is much older than Anna, and he talks about his grey hair at the end of the story.

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