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Anton Chekhov in his short story, the lady with the dog; illustrates the contemporary encounter of a sexist and chauvinistic Dmitri Gurov with a woman who changes his perception of women and his feelings towards them. Anton brings out the character and thoughts of Dmitri in relation to his marriage, his family and his perceived contempt and prowess towards the opposite sex. The lady with the dog is a story that illustrates the changes and feelings that affect Dmitri’s life as a result of his encounters with Anna Sergeyevna. While John Cheever’s country husband differs from Anton’s the lady with the dog, there are significant similarities in context. Francis Weed is a family man whose obsession is a young girl. His fascination and obsession with her threatens to derail his mind and break his hold on his family. These stories illustrate the conflict that exists between a man’s obligations towards his family and pursuit his hearts desires.
In the lady with the Dog, Dmitri Gurov is a man who views women as insignificant, weak and worthless. His relationship with his wife over the years has become a cohabiting arrangement in a loveless marriage. He considers her as inferior, unintelligent and unattractive. This fact kept him away from his home most of the time where he spent his time cheating on her. He is aware that women are attracted to him; therefore, he takes advantage of their attraction towards him to commit adultery with them. Though the women often perceive him as their ideal man, they are often disappointed in him. This, however, changed when he met the lady with the dog. Dmitri’s first encounter with the lady with the Dog, Anna Sergeyevna; was by chance. Her presence by herself gave him the opinion that she was a cheap woman who would jump at any chance of invitation by any man.
Once he engaged her in dialogue he found her to be shy, appealing and attractive in her nature and opinions. She proved to surpass his expectations, earning his respect and undivided attention. Although he fantasizes about her, he is resentful as he thinks, “There's something pathetic about her, anyway,”. Anna’s presence is alluring and almost magnetic to him. His intention to have his way with her falters and finds himself caring for and having feelings for her. He discovers she is conscious of her morals as she tells him, “I love a pure, honest life, and sin is loathsome to me. I don't know what I am doing.” Dmitri finds that she has feelings for him. Though they are both married, they discover love has no boundaries. Dmitri realizes that his feelings for Anna are real and strong. He is unable to resume his normal routines his obsession of romance is met with scorn by his wife as she observes, “The part of a lady-killer does not suit you at all, Dmitri." Anna’s effects on Dmitri send him to her home town. He is unable to control himself and his feelings towards her. In their rendezvous, they both realize that they cannot live without each other. “You've had your cry; that's enough. . . . Let us talk now, let us think of some plan." He comforts her.
Francis Weed on the hand is a family man who is bored by his routine life. He finds that no one in his home pays attention to his day’s activities. His wife’s predictable demeanor towards their families standing in their social circles leaves makes him despise her priorities and social inclinations. His desire for undivided attention from her leaves him to seek it from his children. Weed’s home offers him no comfort, “he was nearly killed in an airplane crash, and he doesn't like to come home every night to a battlefield...” His wife is ever busy obsessing about social functions to pay significant attention to him. The arrival of Anne Murchison in his house as the new baby sitter arouses desires and feelings which his wife is unable to inspire in him. His attempt to have his way with her fails, leaving him to his imagination and dreams, “the girl entered his mind, moving with perfect freedom through its shut doors and filling chamber after chamber with her light, her perfume, and the music of her voice..” Although he understands that she is a minor, he is unwilling to accept that she is engaged to Clayton. He reacts negatively towards Clayton as jealousy engulfs him. The thought of Anne with Clayton leaves him disturbed. Weed realizes that his feelings towards Anne will lead to him to a disastrous end and resolves to seek the help of a psychiatrist.
The two men in these stories are similar in their routine marriages. They both feel unsatisfied in their domestic setting and seek to find love and affection elsewhere. Their involvement with other women brings into question their moral obligations towards their wives. They feel unable to find excitement at home and resolve to seek it elsewhere. The fact that they are family men does not prevent them from abdicating from their marital duties. The pressure and demands of marriage overwhelms them where love and affection towards their spouses translates to routine obligations to the whole family. Both men feel unloved and unappreciated by their spouses; therefore, resolving to seek comfort and affection in the other women. The two men are careful to conceal their involvement with other women and avoid being discovered.
As much as the two men are similar they differ significantly. Dmitri is a sexist man who believes women to be of “the lower race," than men. His opinion of his wife is demeaning and degrading. Francis weed, on the other hand, is a collected man who takes an interest in his families affairs he does not avoid going home to his wife like Dmitri. Francis is honest in appreciating his wife’s efforts towards their social well being and is careful to avoid hurting her. As, husband Francis is more involved than Dmitri who is in occasional presence of his wife. Dmitri, however, is brave enough to pursue his love to her home town whereas, Francis who resolves to seek help in ending his obsession as he realized, “This was the wrong train of thought, and he came back to the first, the psychiatrist...” (Cheever, 344). Francis is significantly a family man since he puts the interests of his family before his personal interest. Dmitri, on the other hand, is a selfish philanderer and seeks to satisfy his own desires as a priority to his family’s interests.