The Lady With The Little Dog

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The Lady with the Little Dog Anton Chekhov’s short story, “The Lady with the Little Dog”, is a story of an unfaithful married man who finally falls in love with an unhappily married woman with whom he has an affair. Though it is a simple plot, the story is compelling to read because Chekhov’s use of two effective ways of telling it. In every conversation between the guy (Dmitri) and his mistress (Anna), Chekhov notes silences. In every case, the silence between the characters raises the tension of the moment in which it is inserted. In the first instance, the two have just met, and are making small talk about Anna’s little dog. Dmitri has watched Anna for several days at this point, and has noticed that she is alone. He asks how long she’s been in Yalta, she says, “About five days. And I’m already dragging through my second week here.” Dmitri does not respond, instead, Chekhov tells the reader that “They were silent for a while” before continuing their conversation. After Dmitri finally responds to her comment, Chekhov states that “Then they went on eating in silence, like strangers. After dinner though they walked off together—and they began to talk a little of free, happy people, who do not care where they go or what they talk about.” Though the silences in the first conversation seem to only highlight the kind of awkwardness two people share when they first meet, they actually set the stage for a repeated pattern of tense silences that predict the difficulty in the relationship. 1 The next silence comes after a week of continued daily meetings and unfolds the
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