A Structuralist Analysis of Anton Chekhov’s "The Lady with the Dog"
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CitationAlkan, Halit (2019). “A Structuralist Analysis of Anton Chekhov’s The Lady with the Dog”. IV.International European Congress on Social Sciences (11-13 October 2019, Diyarbakır, Turkey). pp.44-59.
Structuralism that began to be active in the 1950’s is the approach to define the relationship between the part and the whole. This study aims to analyse Anton Chekhov’s "The Lady with the Dog" (1899) in terms of the structuralist approach. This short story is analysed synchronically. In the surface structure, there is a tale based on a love affair between Dmitri Dmitritch Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna who are married to other people. In terms of syntagmatic relation, Gurov marries his wife while he is a student in his second year, and Anna Sergeyevna marries her husband while she is at the age of 20. In terms of paradigmatic relation, there is also homology of relationship between the two couples because Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna both have unhappy marriages. As for the surface structure, in Section I and Section II, the setting is Yalta and the season is summer which represents warmth, freedom, pleasure, optimism while in Section III and Section IV, the setting is Moscow and the season is winter which represents coldness, oppression, pain, pessimism. As for the surface meaning, love is both pleasure and pain. Arranged marriage and love in the surface structure are closed signs. These signs become explicit signs in the deep structure in the following sense: While the signifier is marriage, the signified is disappointment; while the signifier is love, the signified is power. As for the deep structure, its harmony operates on binary opposition between ‘being as a subject’ and ‘being as an object’. In Section I and Section II, Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna are ‘beings as an object’ and not free because they take the judgment of others into consideration. In Section III and Section IV, Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna who fall in love with each other become ‘beings as a subject’ and free because they ignore how others judge them, make their choice, take action and take the responsibility of their decision. Its melody operates on the fixed cycle of getting married on social traditions. The short story ends but its melody continues because Gurov and Anna Sergeyevna will continue to love and meet each other in secret due to their marriage to other people. As for the deep meaning, hell is much of provincial values and unquestioning acceptance of conforming to meaningless social traditions.
SourceA Structuralist Analysis of Anton Chekhov’s "The Lady with the Dog"