The stories “Lady with the Pet Dog” by Anton Chekhov and “A&P” by John Updike have a certain similarity in the terms of theme. While they don’t have any obvious connection in the plot and describe completely different events they both depict a man strongly influenced by woman.
In “Lady with the Pet Dog” the actions take place in one of the resort cities of Crimea and describe the society of the 19th century. The narration is made by the author. The main character is wealthy man of about 40 who is married and has three kids. However, his young marriage did not bring them any happiness and he started to deceive his wife long ago and does it often enough.
That resort becomes the place of his acquaintance with the blond young lady who walks with the dog every day. He is absorbed by the idea of spontaneous romance with the completely strange woman while she is young and inexperience. In a course of time he manages to start a romance with her, however, her purity and innocence makes her very different from all the other women he had. Anna loves pure and open life, she doesn’t want to deceive her husband and experiences feelings of guilt and dirt but she just can’t help those feelings she has to that older man.
As for him, he is not quite honest with her. He knows that she doesn’t seem to see his real personality but only the man she imagines. They spend a lot of time together and they enjoy that time very much, they go for a walks, meet the dawn and kiss in the valleys. But all of the sudden the letter comes from her husband who says that he is ill and she has to leave. She says that it is for good, and he is sure that he’ll forget about that adventure pretty soon.
But ever since he came back to Moscow, Anna becomes not just his dream but also his shadow. In a course of just a couple of months he leaves to the city she lives to find her.
Shortly after his arrival Dmitriy meets Anna at the theatre and realizes that he never head a person so close and important to him. He talks to her and gets to know that all his doubts whether she remembers him or not were groundless and that she loves him as much as he loves her. She asks him to leave, but only to come to visit him in Moscow.
Since that time they meet each other secretly in Moscow. She lies to her husband that she needs to see the doctor and he visits her secretly. It is there where author gives the reader a wide variety of thoughts about opened and secret life of people. His hero thinks about what constitutes his everyday life and those dates that on one knows about and he comes to a conclusion that the most interesting and wonderful things, the things that make him feel alive are actually all happening within that secret side of his life.
The story ands with the description of dates of the couple where they try to figure out what to do to be able to stop hiding like thieves and they realize that it is only a beginning of hard times in their lives.
It is remarkable to note how the character of Dmitriy changes through the story. Cold hearted and disrespectful to women in the beginning, he finds himself being tenderly in love with the woman twice younger then he is. His entire personality changes and he resizes that finally it is a real love. At the same time it would be fair to say that no substantial changes happen to Anna, she is still innocent and clean.
Through the main hero’s thoughts author also depicts the society he sees around him. Gurov’s thoughts about his secret life expose the general trend of the people of his time. In his case it proved to be pure and real feeling that made him live that life, but before that, and in many other cases it was the life of vice that was typical for many of his contemporaries.
Use of descriptions is not common in this story. Neither author use details of figurative language. Generally, the charm of the story lies in its plot. As for me I liked the story very much. Despite the ending promising hard life for the couple the story has a charm of a fiery tale where love concurs all.
In the light of the story described above it is interesting to examine “A&P”. The plot of the story is very simple, however, the manner of writing allows author to crate a good piece of reading.
The story is narrated by a 19-year-old boy who stands at the counter in the supermarket that is in the centre of the town and sees three girls in the swimming suites that enter that supermarket, hang around for a bit, pick up one single good pay for it and leave. However, before they leave they have a bit of an argument with the manager who also happened to be a friend of the boy’s family and a teacher in the Sunday school. He makes them blush for their inappropriate outfit and the boy quits his job because of this, trying to become their hero. However, his deed remains unnoticed and the story ends with the thoughts of the boy about hard times he’ll have to face now.
The story is reach in details and descriptions. Author does his best to depict the girls that become the reason of the entire mess and gives the reader every detail he can. Since it is described from the person of the 19-year-old boy it makes the reader see those girls through his yeas and shear his feelings. It is the descriptions that and details that give sense to the story.
The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs. I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. (Updike)
Those descriptions lead the reader through the entire story to the young man’s “heroic” deed and it is only thanks to then that his deed seems logical and justified.
The story is also a good example of the influence of the women’s beauty on men and the thoughtless things men are able to do under the influence of that attraction. In fact the only reason why the young man quit was that the manager made one of those three complete strange beautiful girls blush. Basically it is the social context put in the story.
As for me, I think that the story is definitely a good piece of writing. Reach in details and descriptions, the story manages to present a simple event in a form of significant point in the man’s life. Besides, it is funny and realistic and depicts the situations we face in our everyday life very clearly so that everyone can recognize them.