Gender Roles And Marriage In The Proposal By Chekhov And Country Lovers By Gordimer

2650 words - 11 pages

In the following essay I will compare and contrast gender roles and marriage between “The Proposal” by Anton Chekhov and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer to showing how women tried to survive in controlling their identity. This essay will compare and contrast each of the characters used by two very different writers. The early 1900’s era was not kind to people in their struggle for what they tried to accomplish with their lives.

Nadine Gordimer was born 1923 in Africa. She was against the opposition that the black people of Africa had to face and stressed this issue in her writings. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. Anton Chekhov was also famous for Russia’s Pushkin Prize in 1888 and like Gordimer, he also wrote many short stories but sometimes ventured out into theater with several plays. Both writers lived abroad sharing the use of conflict in their writings such as unrealistic expectations, endowment and social status. They used symbolism more as a contrast instead of a comparison, but compared lower class to higher class status for each of their characters in the two short stories that will be featured in this paper.
In the article written by Gordimer that is titled “Twenty-one Years Later she states that “since 1980 other media have taken over from the printed word as the most powerful means of free expression. I remain as totally opposed to censorship as ever, but I am in a quandary when I touch the wrong button on television set and find I’m confronted with a couple making Shakespeare’s ‘beast with two backs’ in a truly beastly and violent sexual display that certainly could frighten any of the many children left to amuse themselves playing the channel keyboard of television. I’m more concerned with the shock, the debasing of an intimate act, than with the likely corruption at a tender age (Gordimer, 2001).

In contrast, Anton Chekhov was born 1860 in Taganrog, Russia. Unlike Gordimer, he studied medicine at the medical faculty in Moscow in his younger years. It was not long after attending school did he start writing short stories with many having medical disorders included in his stories. One of these disorders Chekhov wrote about was restless leg syndrome (RLS) which Sir Thomas Willis first described in the 1600’s as in the following centuries these symptoms were rarely recognized in the medical literature and it was only in 1944 that the Swedish neurologist K. A. Ekbom described the symptoms of the disease as a single entity. “These include dysaesthesias, motor restlessness, and an irresistible urge to move the limbs, occur mostly at night with associated sleep disturbance, and improve after some exercise. In 1889 the Russian author and physician Anton Chekhov had already described sleep disturbances as well as motor restlessness in some detail in ‘The Wedding Proposal’ (Winkelmann, 2002).”

The character, Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov in “The Proposal” is quite different from Paulus...

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