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federick douglas


Impressions of Ordinary Life One of the sweet comforts in life is curling up in a favorite chair with a short storythat will carry us away from our everyday lives for an hour or two. On rare occasions, we findatalethat mirrors real life in such a way that we are strangely comforted by the normalcy reflectedinthe words. A perfect example of a story about ordinary life that will soothe the soul in searchforsome insight on understanding human behavior is Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with theLittleDog.” This piece is definitive of the literary period of realism during the late nineteenthcenturythat was influenced by this brilliant writer and others such as Guy de Maupassant andKateChopin. This style of writing has such a mass appeal because the “characters in [these] novels(and in short stories) wear recognizable social masks and reflect an everyday reality” (Charters997). In his simple anecdote of a chance meeting between a middle-aged, chauvinistic, repeat-offender adulterer, unhappily married man, and a young, naïve, in-search-of-something-new, married woman, Chekhov paints a picture that gives a startling representation of howthesetwocharacters are influenced by the settings in which their chronicle takes place, especiallywiththebudding of their relationship. The narrative takes place in Yalta, a vacation spot for Eastern Europeans and Russiansonthe northern coast of the Black Sea. We are given a brief description of the main character, Gurov, who is a man that describes his wife as a woman “none too bright, narrow-minded, graceless,” (Chekhov 144) and has used these human imperfections as reasons tobeunfaithful. We learn only minute details about his children and his employment, withmoreemphasis being given to his views on women, “an inferior race” (Chekhov 144), whicharenodoubt due to the sour experiences he has had in his extramarital affairs. We can usethisinformation and the fact that Yalta is a place where one would go to search out “a quick, fleetingliaison” (Chekhov 144) to assess that this man is in Yalta looking for just that. As soon as Gurovgains sight of his prospective candidate and makes first contact with “the lady with the littledog”(Chekhov 144), the scenery begins to take shape and the setting is cheerful and airy, full ofbeautiful colors and tranquil light. After becoming acquainted, Anna and Gurov “strolledandtalked of how strange the light was on the sea; the water was of a lilac color, so soft andwarm, and over it the moon cast a golden strip” (Chekhov 145). Later, when he is alone in his hotel room, Gurov reflects on “her slender, weak neck, her beautiful gray eyes” (Chekhov 145) andhisthoughts reveal that he has determined this young, vulnerable woman to be an ideal contender foranother one of his m

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