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Tone in The Lady with the Dog

The tone of Chekhov’s narrator is objective and coolly observant. Chekhov succeeds in mapping out and developing the tumultuous inner lives of Gurov and Anna through external details. Even the most complex emotional states are conveyed through simple, but careful, description: “She was pale; she looked at him, and did not smile.” The straightforward tone is also important in that does not cast judgment on Gurov and Anna. Though their adulterous actions may be deemed immoral by some, the narrator is more interested in letting the two characters navigate the joys and sorrows of the small life they build together.

Tone Examples in The Lady with the Dog:

Part IV

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"His hair was already beginning to turn grey. And it seemed strange to him that he had grown so much older, so much plainer during the last few years...."   (Part IV)

Notice how objective the narrative tone is. Chekhov does not describe the moods and emotional states of the characters, nor does he remark on the events with judgment or wit. The tone is calm and observant, revealing much through and careful detail.

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