Between the two versions of “The Lady with the Pet Dog” by Chekhov and Carol Oates, there are many similarities and differences but I would prefer Chekov’s “Lady with a Pet Dog” as the modernized version lacks the romance and appeal that Chekov’s version possesses. Both stories are similar in plot and couldn’t be more different in style but Oates’ version loses a lot in recreation. Chekhov’s story exemplifies the author’s subtle yet powerful style, as he is economical with language and never says more than he needs. He conveys emotional complexity in just a few words, thus preserving the intensity of his characters’ feelings whereas the modernized version of Oates lacks this. Furthermore, Chekov’s structural built of the story is linear and straightforward whereas Oates plot is like a roundabout and is therefore complicated.
Beside this stylistic preferences, reversal of role is another thing that caught my attention. Although Oates presents the similar issue from a feminist view-point, but this description lacks the intensity and vigor of Chekov’s way of presenting viewpoint. In Chekhov’s story protagonist Gurov directs the action in the plot whereas Oates’ male protagonist is passive. In her updated version, Oates sees everything through Anna’s eyes and Anna is unable to control the action in the plot. Oates’ Anna is a hysterical character as she is obsessed with self underestimation and self loathing. In Chekhov’s story Anna’s is a pretty lady with dignity and proud. Anna in Oates story is not a strong woman. She talks about suicide and murder. Chekhov’s Anna is full of energy and life.
It is quite obvious that reading of one story influences the reaction to the other as pre-conceived notions become a hindrance to evaluate the other story on its own merits and demerits. Although both stories present the same theme from different viewpoint but stylistic preferences of the reader start undermining the other story and thus disregard the other viewpoint.