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The Lady with the Dog

The Lady with the Dog

by Anton Chekhov

The Lady with the Dog Section 2 Summary

  • A week passes. It is a holiday, and "one [does] not know what to do with oneself." Anna and Gurov hang out for most of the day; that evening they watch the new arrivals come in off the steamer.
  • Gurov asks her if she wants to take a drive. When she doesn't answer, he looks at her, then puts his arms around her and kisses her. Immediately after, he looks around to see if anyone saw them. Then he suggests that they go to Anna's hotel.
  • They do. Gurov muses on all the different types of women he's had sex with, and the different types of reactions they've had before, during, and after the sex.
  • He then considers the way Anna treats their affair, with "the diffidence, the angularity of inexperienced youth, an awkward feeling." After they have sex she feels shameful, considering herself to now be "a fallen woman."
  • He eats a watermelon slice and says nothing for half an hour. She suspects that he no longer respects her and even accuses him of despising her now.
  • Gurov tries to assure her this is not the case.
  • Anna then discusses her husband, whom she calls "a flunkey." She married him when she was twenty, but came to regret it soon after. It was a hunger for life that drove her to this affair, and now as a result she is a "vulgar, contemptible woman."
  • Gurov quickly grows bored listening to Anna talk. Finally, he gets her back into a laughing mood, and the two of them go outside and take a cab to Oreanda.
  • Gurov sees Anna's name on the board and notes her last name, "Von Diderits," which is surely not a conveniently placed plot device for use later in the narrative.
  • At Oreanda they sit outside looking out to the sea, silently. The narrative slows in this reflective passage:
  • The leaves did not stir on the trees, grasshoppers chirruped, and the monotonous hollow sound of the sea rising up from below, spoke of the peace, of the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it must have sounded when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it sounds now, and it will sound as indifferently and monotonously when we are all no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies hid, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing movement of life upon earth, of unceasing progress towards perfection. (2.28)
  • Gurov decides that everything is beautiful when one reflects like this; everything except that which we do when we "forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence."
  • As dawn approaches, the lovers return to town.
  • From then on, the two of them meet every day at noon, eat their meals together, take walks, etc. Anna is still complaining that Gurov won't respect her. Gurov is still kissing her in public places when he thinks no one is nearby to see.
  • And during this affair, Gurov becomes a new man. He is passionate; he tells Anna that she is beautiful and fascinating.
  • One day Anna gets a letter from her husband saying that there's something wrong with his eyes and she needs to come home ASAP. "It's the finger of destiny!" says Anna, who readies to depart.
  • The two of them share a touching parting scene by the train. Anna tells Gurov that they will never meet gain.
  • Once she's gone, Gurov figures it's about time for him to go home, too.

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