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The Lady with the Dog

The Lady with the Dog

by Anton Chekhov

The Lady with the Dog Section 4 Summary

  • As she promised, Anna starts coming to visit Gurov in Moscow. She stays at a hotel and sends a messenger to alert Gurov of her presence.
  • One morning, having received a message from Anna the night before, Gurov is walking his daughter school, with plans to head to the hotel afterwards. He explains to his daughter how it can be snowing if the temperature is actually above the freezing point.
  • While he converses with his daughter, Gurov realizes that he has "two lives: one, open, seen and known by all who cared to know, full of relative truth and of relative falsehood, exactly like the lives of his friends and acquaintances; and another life running its course in secret" (4.5). And everything important to him, everything of value, belongs to his secret life.
  • After dropping his daughter off at school, Gurov goes to Anna's hotel. They kiss passionately. She is crying "from emotion, from the miserable consciousness that their life was so hard for them," from the fact that they can only meet in secret.
  • Gurov tries to get her to stop crying. At the same time, he realizes that this love of theirs is not going to be over any time soon.
  • He goes to take Anna in his arms; as he does, he sees himself in the mirror. He looks old – his hair is beginning to grey. He realizes Anna will soon grow old, too. He wonders why she loves him, and realizes that, while, yes, women are always attracted to him, they're more attracted to an image of him they have in their heads than to the real Gurov.
  • Gurov realizes that this is the first time in his life he is really in love. It doesn't seem fair to him that the two of them met when they were already married to other people, and he recognizes that they've both been profoundly changed by this love between them.
  • He tries to comfort Anna and the two of them talk of how to maintain their affair, how to keep the secrecy, how to see each other despite their difficult situation. (Chekhov summarizes this; we don't see the actual conversation between these two.)
  • Then it seems as though, soon enough, they will find the solution, and when they do, a "new and splendid life" will begin. "And it [is] clear to both of them that they still [have] a long, long road before them, and that the most complicated and difficult part of it [is] only just beginning."

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