The story takes place over the course of the first few months of Anna’s marriage and describes the key challenges she faces during this time. These difficulties include her uncomfortable introduction to the Russian socialite scene and her struggle to find her identity as she negotiates her roles in two different social classes. As the story begins, Anna is just leaving to go on her honeymoon with her new husband, a miserly nobleman by the name of Modest Alexeich. Anna and Modest have absolutely nothing in common; in fact, the only reason she married the fifty-two year old is that he is quite wealthy (Chekhov 224-226). With access to Alexeich’s resources, Anna hopes that she will be able to help provide for her father and brothers, who are beset by poverty produced by her father’s drinking problem (226-227, 234). As Anna and her husband set out for their honeymoon trip, she is in the lowes...
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...ocuses less on how Anna meets and marries Alexeich, and more on her emotional struggles as she transitions into both adulthood and high class society. Over the course of the tale, Anna transforms from a compliant wife to a bustling socialite who seeks to take advantage of all of the benefits her position can bring. Although it is impossible to ever know for certain Chekhov’s relationship with his characters, it would seem that he identified most with the character of Anyuta Leontyich. Both Anna and Chekhov struggled to reconcile their newfound success and old family ties, and both simply wanted the freedom to make their own choices without obligation to authority figures. Perhaps this is why the story doesn’t seem to end on a perfectly happy note: Anna’s tale echoes the real-life emotional element of growing up, which is truly a tension between both freedom and loss.
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