Symbolism In Chekhov’s Poetry

The journey of a fictional character is written to reflect the ways of the author’s culture.

The author uses symbolisms of common things to represent or convey a greater message subtly to the reader. Authors such as Anton Chekhov, and Kate Chopin created stories with characters on similar journeys however under unique circumstances leaving them with different outcomes. There are many instances of symbolism in both of these stories that make the anonymity of the character clear and stance of the author as well.

Anton Chekhov wrote the short story “Lady with the pet Dog” in the late 1800s. It is the story of a man named Dmitri Gurov who is on a mission of lust to pursue a married woman and have a relationship with her in secret. Dimitri’s journey to the reader is one of desire and highlights the man’s dependency on contact with Anna Sergeyevna, and his inability to think of any one besides himself. “ He had begun being unfaithful to her long ago – had been unfaithful to her often, and, probably on that account, almost always spoke ill of women, and when they were talked about in his presence, used to call them ‘the lower race.’’ This shows that Chekhov thought negatively of human behavior during his era, as his characters go on to live in their self interests

One of the points of symbolism in Lady with the pet Dog, is the show “The Geisha” that Dimitri and Anna go to. What this symbolizes is the double life they lead as the go on with their relationship in secret. “I despise myself and don’t attempt to justify myself. It’s not my husband but myself I have deceived. And not only just now; I have been deceiving myself for a long time.” Chekhov uses this symbolism to show how devisive human beings are when faced with lust.

Another point of symbolism made by Chekhov is the pet dog it self. What the pet dog symbolizes to the reader is the idea of desperately needing companionship to survive.” In the society of men he was bored and not himself, with them he was cold and uncommunicative; but when he was in the company of women he felt free, and knew what to say to them and how to behave.” What Anton Chekhov Couldn’t say that he conveyed to the reader, is that men are creatures driven by their desires with singular purpose, like the dog is to comforting its owner.

Kate Chopin wrote this next piece in the late 1800s as well called, The Storm. Chopin wrote The Storm during a time where women and sexuality were suppressed by a male dominated society.The Story Follows the journey of a married woman named Calixta who commits adultery during a storm with a friend named Alce.”Do you rememberin Assumption, Calixta?’ he asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh! She remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed and kissed her.” 

A Major Symbolic point made in The Storm by Chopin, Is the environment. The storm raging represents the uncontrollable passion of sex between man and woman. “She wiped the frame that was clouded with moisture. It was stiflingly hot. Alce got up and joined her at the window, looking over her shoulder.” Chopin wants the reader to know that Calixta’s sexuality is significant to the era it was written in.

The second symbol in the short story The Storm, is the letter Alce writes to his wife as the storm passes on. The importance of the letter was it was showed Chopin’s views on Male expectations of women even when it clashes with the females desires. “..And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days. Devoted as she was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something which she was more than willing to forego for a while. So the storm passed and everyone was happy.” Chopin delves into the habitual minds of men and women to expose their true desires and passion.

In conclusion, as seen from this essay, both short stories were similar in the sense that they dealt with adultery. These works by Kate Chopin and Anton Chekhov can be comparable to an extent, but with one thing for certain, they were written in perspective of the sex of the fictional characters. One may suggest they do this to paint a picture of a person’s morales to the reader during a time of conservative behavior.