Anna Karenina Fridays – Week Three


This week for the Anna Karenina read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I read Part II Chapters IX-XXIX.  This week’s reading reveals more about Russian society, between cultural events, and delves more deeply into the issues of prestige and social status in czarist Russia.

This week’s reading showed, in more detail, the ins and outs of Levin’s daily life as a farmer.  Similar to last week’s post, I still feel that Levin is more of a look into Tolstoy’s soul and how he felt about certain aspects of culture during czarist Russia.  I also continue to be fascinated by Alex Karenin’s complete and utter naiveté that his wife, Anna, and Vronsky aren’t having an affair, when all the social circles in Petersburg  are clearly aware of the existence of this illicit affair.

Wallace posted two discussion questions for this week’s post, and I will answer them this evening with my post:

  1. Who’s your favorite character(s) so far and why?

    Answer:  To be perfectly honest, I’d have to say Anna.  Perhaps that’s a strange answer, but here’s why.  Anna clearly doesn’t like her place in society.  She’s unhappy in an arranged marriage.  I get this feeling she wants to be free from the entanglements of the higher strata of society that her husband is a member of, and she finds both of them repulsive.  Those attitudes are clearly those which are changing in late nineteenth century Russia.  That period of time was one of significant change in czarist Russia.  Attitudes toward monarchy and nobility were changing, and I feel that Anna’s disgust with the entanglements of czarist Russia clearly reflect the attitudes of the people at the time.  She’s also trying to break out of a paradigm with her “arranged” marriage.  We don’t know what Anna’s thoughts were regarding her husband before she met Vronsky, but clearly, even though she says she loves him, I think more than anything else, he’s providing Anna’s catalyst to separate herself from the higher echelons of Russian society and what it stands for.

  2. What has surprised you the most (that you didn’t expect coming into this book)?

    Answer:  How much easier the book is to read than when I attempted it the last time.  Anna Karenina reads quite easily for me.  I don’t know if me reading War and Peace and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov has allowed me to have an easier go of reading Anna Karenina, but I’m finding the book to be quite easy to get through.  I’m also surprised, as usual with Tolstoy, how vivid the descriptions are regarding Russian society.  Learning more about Russian culture and society just fascinates me so much.  It ranks up there with me learning more about British culture and society with Jane Austen and Dickens, even though I currently have a love/hate relationship with Dickens!

I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with Anna Karenina!

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

One Response to “Anna Karenina Fridays – Week Three”

  1. I have ridiculously behind! I haven’t even started on part 3 yet :[ I’ve just had WAY too much going on. I think I can get it done tomorrow though, hopefully.

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